He’s singing the same tune, but are the neighbours actually willing to listen? Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe once again called on the leaders of China and South Korea to have a summit meeting so the three countries can thresh out the ongoing problems among them. Relations between the Asian powers have been tense the past year or so due to various historical, political and territorial issues.
Speaking during a House of Councillors’ plenary session, Abe said that Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun Hye “should meet and frankly discuss (issues) without setting any preconditions.” The three have never met for a trilateral meeting since they assumed office in their respective countries last year. Abe came back to power in December 2012 while Park officially took over the presidency in February 2013 and Xi a month later. Abe’s visit last month to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including several convicted war criminals, has further worsened Japan’s relations with both countries.
Meanwhile, Abe reiterated that he intends to push for a revision of the country’s Pacifist Constitution and wants to “deepen national debate” on the issue. Changing the war-renouncing constitution is also a major concern for neighboring countries, as they fear that Japan will go back to its militaristic past. But Abe has said in the past that the purpose for changing some parts is to allow Japan’s Self Defense Forces to take a more active role in global peacekeeping and security efforts.
[ via Kyodo News ]