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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 8, 2016 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the recent ASEAN Summit. Although the Chairman’s Statement expresses serious concerns about the issue of the South China Sea and China’s powerful maritime advances, on the other hand it made no mention of the ruling of the arbitral tribunal that dismissed China’s assertions concerning the South China Sea. What is the Government’s evaluation of the statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Chairman’s Statement from the ASEAN Summit that was released today reaffirms ASEAN’S commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes. The statement also notes that ASEAN remains seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments in the South China Sea. Although I would like to refrain from commenting on the outcomes of a summit meeting among third countries, what I would say is that the issue of the South China Sea is a matter of common interest to the international community, including Japan, which directly affects regional peace and stability. In the ASEAN-related summit meetings, Japan will continue to assert the importance of the rule of law at sea and the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means, based on international law. In any event, the statement released today specifically mentions full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, which demonstrates ASEAN’s emphasis on the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means, based on international law.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It is currently the case that there is a lack of unity among ASEAN countries in terms of a response to China’s powerful maritime advances. In order to make a concerted response going forward, what role do you think that the Government of Japan could play?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think that there is a lack of unity. As I have already noted the statement includes an expression that ASEAN remains seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments in the South China Sea.

REPORTER: I have another related question. Although there are still some meetings left on the diplomatic calendar like the East Asia Summit, what are your thoughts about the outcomes of the Prime Minister’s series of overseas visits to date, including the Japan-Russia summit meeting, the G20 Summit and ASEAN-related summit meetings?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, there are still some meetings yet to be held, including the East Asia Summit. However, on his recent visit to Vladivostok, the Prime Minister engaged in talks with President Putin for more than three hours. It was agreed that the Prime Minister would welcome President Putin to Yamaguchi Prefecture on December 15 and the two leaders confirmed that preparations would be advanced on various issues, including negotiations on the conclusion of a peace treaty. These developments represent a major step forward. At the recent G20 Summit, the major theme was the global economy. Based on discussions that took place at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of international cooperation at a time when the global economy is facing serious risks, and the G20 leaders confirmed the necessity of emerging economies sharing a sense of crisis about the global economy and working to implement all necessary policy responses. One of the major outcomes of the G20 Summit was an agreement on taking effective steps to respond to structural issues such as excess capacity in emerging economies like China. Furthermore, at the ASEAN-related summit meetings, the countries of ASEAN expressed their appreciation for Japan’s cooperation in initiatives to create an ASEAN Community. In addition, with regard to regional international issues, including the South China Sea, candid discussions took place in the Japan-ASEAN summit meeting, in which many opinions were voiced in support of the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law. At the East Asia Summit that is scheduled to take place today, the Prime Minister is expected to call on participating countries, including ASEAN countries, to follow the rule of law.

(Abridged)

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