Japan and Asean Announce Security Cooperation Amid China Conflicts


Ahead of a summit in Tokyo, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations vowed to maintain maritime security in tandem. This development comes as apprehensions regarding the region’s territorial disputes with China increase. Japan and Asean Announce Security Cooperation Amid China Conflicts.

Sunday, following a commemorative summit between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the group’s leaders, a comprehensive statement read, “The parties agreed to uphold international law, strengthen coastguard cooperation, and seek additional opportunities to cooperate on defense, including equipment and joint training.”

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As the United States vied with China for regional influence, the summit, commemorating the 50th anniversary of relations between the group and Asia’s second-largest economy, occurred while Japan was the only treaty ally. China is Japan’s leading trading partner, but it is also a territorial rival of several Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Saturday at a bilateral leaders’ meeting, Kishida pledged to provide Malaysia with 400 million ($2.8 million) in equipment, including rescue boats, to bolster maritime security and protect sea channels. He also promised Indonesia a patrol vessel.

This occurred after a protocol stipulating the supply of coastal surveillance radar apparatus to the Philippines. A month ago, during a summit, Japan strengthened its relations with Vietnam to provide defense assistance.

Although the financial investments in these security assistance agreements are relatively modest, they convey a significant symbolic message from Japan. This nation has historically been pacifist but is currently embroiled in a territorial dispute with China.

Amidst the uninhabited East China Sea islands that China and Japan jointly claim, tensions have escalated, with coastguard vessels from both nations attempting to evict one another from adjacent waters regularly. Additionally, Japan is concerned with ensuring security in the South China Sea, where economic trade routes with Asean nations are vital.

Additionally, Japan pledged to collaborate with its ASEAN counterparts on technologies involving hydrogen and ammonia, liquefied natural gas, and energy. Both parties pledged to advance energy transition “under the specific conditions of each nation.” On Monday, the summit concludes with a summit attended by the Asia Zero Emission Community leaders.