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Japan, Brazil to repeat refrain on rule of law

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are expected to stress in a joint statement this week that they share basic values including respecting the rule of law, a Japanese delegation source said Saturday.

Their statement, to be released following their meeting Friday, reflects Beijing’s unilateral declaration of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea last November as well as its growing assertiveness in the East and South China seas.

Aimed at countering Beijing in light of recent actions such as repeated clashes between Chinese and Vietnamese ships, a draft joint statement showed that Japan and Brazil will mention that conflicts in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully and in line with international law without the use of force or threat, according to the source.

Vietnam has overlapping territorial claims with China in the South China Sea, while tensions between Tokyo and Beijing are also high over the sovereignty of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that are known as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.

In the draft statement, the two leaders are expected to underline the importance of free and safe navigation on the high seas as well as in international airspace, the source said.

Tokyo is keen to strengthen its influence in Latin America following a visit to four countries in the region, including Brazil and Cuba, earlier this month by Chinese President Xi Jinping to expand Beijing’s clout.

Abe and Rousseff are also likely to reaffirm their cooperation in efforts to reform the U.N. Security Council as soon as possible, the source said.

Japan is one of the so-called Group of Four nations — the others being Brazil, India and Germany — seeking permanent seats on an expanded Security Council. The council’s five current permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Abe and Rousseff aim to make talks between top leaders and foreign ministers of the two countries regular and more frequent, and push for security and defense policy dialogue, the source said.

Other areas of cooperation they seek to pursue are in the fields of digital broadcasting technology, marine science, disaster reduction, and the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Brazil is also expected to review its current restrictions on importing Japanese food products due to radiation concerns in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis based on scientific grounds, according to the source.

The two countries are set to issue a separate joint statement under which Tokyo will introduce its technology to build a major offshore logistics hub for Brazil to develop underwater oil fields, the source said.