Japan, ASEAN Leaders Start Talks on Economy, Security

Pool Photo via AP
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, front, speaks during the opening session of the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting at the Hotel Okura Tokyo in Tokyo on Sunday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Leaders of Japan and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations started discussions Sunday on the strengthening of economic and security cooperation as part of the three-day Japan-ASEAN special summit in Tokyo through Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to show Tokyo’s readiness to offer cooperation to ASEAN countries in electric vehicle production and promote human interactions.

The leaders are expected to release a joint statement later on Sunday.

The special summit is being held to mark the 50 years of friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and ASEAN, and help them share a vision for the future.

The international order faces serious challenges, and the world faces complex problems such as climate change, Kishida said at the start of Sunday’s session.

Japan hopes to work with ASEAN more closely than before to co-create a sustainable and prosperous future, he added.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he hopes Japan will make contributions to ensure that East Asia and the Indo-Pacific region remain resilient and are at the center of economic growth.

The Japanese and Indonesian leaders serve as co-chairs of the special summit.

All ASEAN member countries except Myanmar, which is governed by the military junta, are participating in the summit. East Timor, set to join ASEAN, is also present at the summit.

Apparently bearing in mind China, which is increasing its presence in the South China Sea, Kishida is hoping to beef up Japan-ASEAN collaboration in the field of security through Japan’s official security assistance (OSA) program, under which the country provides defense equipment to like-minded nations free of charge.