BRUSSELS – Japan has proposed that the statement to be issued after its summit with the European Union in late May should include a call for keeping China’s maritime ambitions in check, and the EU is soliciting opinions from its 28 member states about the request, a diplomatic source said.
Tokyo is suggesting that the document “underline the need . . . to refrain from unilateral actions, including the use of force and coercion, that could increase the tension in the East and South China (seas),” the source saud Monday.
Since last year, Japan has been calling at such occasions as the summit of the Group of Seven industrial economies for concern to be expressed about China’s territorial and maritime claims.
Last year’s G-7 summit and the G-7 meeting of foreign ministers in April issued documents that incorporated wording similar to Tokyo’s latest proposal. On all occasions, however, China was not named.
Another diplomatic source said Japan will likely make a similar bid at this year’s meeting of G-7 leaders hosted by Germany in June.
Japan’s proposal for the statement with the EU also adds, “We highlight the need to seek peaceful solutions through active diplomatic engagement and in accordance with principles of international law.”
Key agenda items at the upcoming summit, held annually, include boosting talks on concluding an economic partnership agreement between Japan and the EU.