The second leg of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Southeast Asian tour led to an agreement with his Singapore counterpart Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that the two countries will work together to strengthen their economic ties through coordination in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks. They are also planning to promote together the export of infrastructure systems to other countries.
Aside from the TPP talks, they are also planning to coordinate in another large free trade bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which is for countries in the East Asian region. Another point of interest in their meeting was to closely work together on their respective defense forces especially in rear-area assistance in the event of a disaster or rescue operations. While they also discussed “overlapping territorial disputes” referring to Japan’s current problems with China, Lee emphasized that Singapore is hoping that the two countries will be able to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner and “in accordance with international law.” He said that everyone will benefit from a stable Asia.
Lee also said that they welcome the participation of Japan in the TPP talks, which Singapore is already part of. Abe added that having free trade agreements with Southeast Asian countries means that Japan will be able to initiate and create trade and investment rules with them. They are keen to foster good ties with the Southeast Asian region which serves as a good marketplace for Japanese products and investments because of its steadily growing economy.
Abe also met with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden in Singapore, and will also be giving a speech regarding his key economic policy which is revolutionizing Japan’s stagnant economy as part of the “Singapore Lecture” series. He will then travel to the Philippines for a meeting with the country’s president on Saturday.
[ via Kyodo ]