Japan, US to play ‘lead role’ in bolstering reg’l security: Abe

MANILA -- Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday night vowed to join the United States in maintaining peace and security in the region, during the closing rites of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

"On the part of Japan, we have absolutely no doubt nor concerns about the US' commitment to the security of this region, hitherto and going forward, in order to secure peace and security and prosperity of the region, Japan and US want to hand-in-hand play a leading role," he told local and foreign reporters at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

Similar to what US President Donald Trump impressed upon the ASEAN bloc, Abe stressed Japan's commitment to maintain maritime order in the Indo-Pacific, "which is free and open and is based on rule of law."

When asked about what to expect from Tokyo's leadership in terms of security presence in Asia, Abe pledged to "take freedom of navigation and rule of law and such basic values and make them take route."

"We will strengthen connectivity and we will provide assistance in terms of maritime law enforcement, the capacity building, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and we will move forward with cooperation for peace and stability," he added.

In the Indo-Pacific region, as what he discussed at the East Asia Summit, Abe said Japan will also enhance contribution in terms of human resource development, supply of goods and knowledge contribution.

"Going forward in the Indo-Pacific region with regards to the security, it is our intention to make positive contributions," he stressed. "When we do so, naturally, based on the US-Japan alliance, we will cooperate."

In a media briefing on Monday, Japanese Press Secretary Norio Maruyama opened up these initiatives with the ASEAN bloc.

"In light of the growing threat about terrorism in Asia, we will continue to support measures to combat terrorism and violent extremism in [ASEAN] member states," he said, zooming into the recent armed conflict in Marawi City.

Source: Philippine News Agency