Komeito’s Yamaguchi Kicks Off Visit to ASEAN Countries in Malaysia; Party Leader Stresses Importance on Dialogue with China

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Komeito leader of Natsuo Yamaguchi, right, speaks with Malaysian Foreign Minister Mohamad Hasan in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR — Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi has kicked off his visit to countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc, starting in Malaysia, with the aim of presenting the party as one seeking peace.

Yamaguchi held a meeting with Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Hasan in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, and said, with Beijing’s increasingly hegemonic moves in mind, “Whether it is a small country or a superpower, the rule of law is important.” He also said the party places importance on dialogue with China.

As Malaysia and China claim some of the same territory in the South China Sea, Mohamad said, “We are seriously concerned [about the situation].”

Komeito traditionally has strong ties with China, and Yamaguchi talked with a close aide of President Xi Jinping in China last year. However, the party has focused on strengthening ties with ASEAN countries since last year in an attempt to balance its diplomatic stance.

Yamaguchi is scheduled to visit Cambodia and exchange views with the staff of a governmental organization that deals with land mines.