Japan seeks defense ties with ASEAN amid China rows

Source:Agencies Published: 2013-3-14 1:13:01

China's foreign ministry Wednesday urged Japan to squarely face and reflect on its history to develop sound relations with its neighboring countries.

Hua Chunying, the ministry's spokeswoman, made the remarks when responding to a question about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent comments on history.

At a congress hearing on Tuesday, Abe referred to the judgment of Japan's war crimes during World War II by the Far East International Martial Court as a verdict made by victorious countries. Japanese media quoted Abe as saying history should be assessed by historians and that governments taking part in and expressing opinions on historical issues may lead to diplomatic problems.

Hua stressed that the aggressive wars waged via Japanese militarism had brought great disasters to the world, especially the people of victimized Asian countries.

"The judgment by the Far East International Martial Court is the justice that the international community brought to Japanese militarism, and it forms a fundamental basis of post-war international order," said the spokeswoman.

"The verdict of history cannot be reversed, while justice cannot be challenged," she said, adding that history has repeatedly proved that a country will enjoy a bright perspective only if it shows respect for the past.

Japan on Wednesday called for stronger security ties with Southeast Asia as Tokyo looks to boost alliances at a time of growing territorial tensions with China.

Vice-minister level representatives from Japan and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began a two-day gathering in Tokyo.

"The Asia-Pacific region has various issues concerning security and defense ... including territorial conflicts in the South China Sea," Vice Defense Minister Akinori Eto told the opening session of the meeting.

"On top of the growing maturity of our economic cooperation, Japan and ASEAN need to further strengthen ties in the field of security and defense," Eto said.

Ahead of the meeting, the ASEAN participants met Abe late Tuesday and voiced their high expectations for Japan "in dealing with various security issues of the Asia-Pacific region," the defense ministry said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, two Vietnam-registered fishing ships were driven out of China's territorial waters by a China Marine Surveillance fleet.

The Vietnamese vessels were spotted around 7 am in the South China Sea around the Xisha Islands.

Japan reportedly plans to donate patrol boats worth more than $10 million each to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to monitor China's maritime activity in disputed waters.



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