OCTOBER 26, 20178:43pm
Deutsche Presse Agentur
Japan, warily eyeing China's aims for a new Silk Road across Asia, plans to seek a strategic dialogue with the United States, India and Australia on the issue, the business daily Nikkei reports.
Citing Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Tokyo will bring the matter up when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets US President Donald Trump at their summit in Japan on November 6.
The initiative is for the leaders of the four countries to consider ways to boost free trade and cooperation in the defence sector via a sea corridor stretching from Asia to the Middle East and onward to Africa.
The proposal comes in the face of China's plans to invest billions in a trade and economic corridor along the ancient Silk Road, the continental trade route between China and Europe via Central Asia and the Middle East.
"We are in an era when Japan has to exert itself diplomatically by drawing a big strategic picture," Kono told Nikkei. The aim of the dialogue would be to secure a peaceful maritime zone stretching from Asia to Africa.
All countries profit from free and open seas, including China with its New Silk Road initiative, he said.
Japan would not seek to play a key role among its dialogue partners, but it would work to secure freedom for maritime shipping in regions that include the South China Sea, where Beijing is expanding its military presence, Kono told the newspaper