He may not have actually mentioned China, but Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s speech at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday was obviously pertaining to its erstwhile neighbour’s recent moves. He warned the leaders gathered in Davos that any move in Asia to aggressively expand the military must be “restrained” and kept in check.
Many saw his speech as a warning against China‘s assertiveness of late as well as a call for international support for their ongoing territorial spat over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands. Abe emphasized that if peace and stability in Asia becomes unstable because of several situations, then the entire world’s economy will be affected. “The dividend of growth in Asia must not be wasted on military expansion,” he added. China’s rapid expansion of its armed forces, as well as their establishment of the Air Defense Identification Zone has raised some concerns from other countries, particularly its neighbours.
The rest of Abe’s speech focused on talking about “Abenomics” or his three arrow plan to lift Japan out of decades of inflation. When it came to talking about Asia’s economy, Abe asked China to look past their differences and partner with “a revitalized Japan” in ensuring that the potential of the region to drive world economic growth will not be wasted. “Trust, not tension, is crucial for peace and prosperity in Asia, and in the rest of the world,” he said, stressing that this will be achieved not through “force or coercion” but only by having open dialogue as well as following the rule of law. He also requested that China share details about their military spending and also help to set up a mechanism that will make the two countries’ armed forces more open to communication and also to manage the inevitable security issues that will arise.
[ via Bangkok Post ]