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Lee of Singapore hails Abe’s ‘proactive contribution to peace’

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told his Singapore counterpart Monday that Japan will play an assertive role in promoting regional stability and “proactively contribute to peace,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his administration supports Abe’s eagerness to contribute more actively amid escalating tensions over disputed territories in the East and South China seas, the official said.

During their talks in Brisbane, Australia, Abe also briefed Lee on the latest developments on Japan’s ties with China, saying he wants to “create stable relations with Beijing,” according to the official.

Lee welcomed Abe’s summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Nov. 10, their first direct talks since assuming power nearly two years ago, as a positive step, the official said.

Abe meanwhile pitched shinkansen technology for a train network that Singapore and Malaysia plan to build, linking the city-state and Kuala Lumpur. Lee was quoted as saying he regards Japan’s bullet train technology very highly.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Abe and Lee confirmed they will work together toward the early conclusion of negotiations on the Pacific Rim free trade initiative. During ministerial talks Nov. 8 in Beijing, Japan, Singapore and the 10 other TPP countries gave up on concluding a deal by the end of this year given the wide gaps that remain, including the deadlock between Tokyo and Washington over market access for agricultural products and automobiles.

Abe and Lee were in Brisbane to attend a two-day summit of the Group of 20 developed and emerging economies that ended Sunday.