Japanese FM outlines vision for East Asian Community, Japan-U.S. ties
www.chinaview.cn 2009-10-07 20:24:36   Print

    TOKYO, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada outlined his idea of the way his nation would develop relations with both Asia and the United States on Wednesday.

    At a news conference, Okada said that he would like to see an East Asian Community based on economic cooperation and involving a huge amount of countries.

    "Many people have different ideas but I see the East Asian Community as involving Japan, China and South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand and the ASEAN countries," Okada told reporters.

    "If people ask if it will be similar to the EU, I don't think it would be like that in the near future. For example, the EU has a common currency, I think something like that would be very far off in the future. Asia has very different political systems and for now I think we should focus on developing economic ties," he said.

    He added that he did not want the community to be used as a means of increasing Japanese power in the region, but considered it to be more of an organization used to maintain stability and increase prosperity for member states.

    "We are going to see a much bigger for Asia in the world, and it is only through making sure that Asia grows in a peaceful and prosperous way that we can ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for Japan," he said.

    While Okada clearly has his sights on improving ties in Asia, he also made clear that he does not want to see ties with the U.S. worsen.

    "I told my counterpart (U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton) that I want to work to make sure that my efforts ensure that the U.S.-Japan alliance continues for the next 30 or 50 years," he said.

    He did, however, hope to see some changes in the relationship, saying that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was working with the United States to attempt to reduce the number of troops currently based in Okinawa.

    "I realize that the governments of the U.S. and Japan have already reached an agreement on the plan (to realign U.S. troops in Okinawa). We are now in the process of trying to think of another plan that would help reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa," Okada said.

    There are more than 20,000 U.S. service members stationed in Okinawa at the moment, and under an agreement penned by the government of the Liberal Democratic Party and the administration of President George W. Bush in 2006 around 10,000 troops will remain in the prefecture, while Japan will pay part of the bill to relocate the others to Guam in 2014.

    Also, Okada said that he hopes to work with the United States to create ambitious targets on climate change reduction and to help bring other nations, such as China, into such a pact.

    China-South Korea-Japan summit meeting will be held in Beijing on Saturday. "In regard to the summit that will be held between China, South Korea and Japan, I am sure that a major topic will be North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK)," he said. "After all (Chinese Premier) Wen Jiabao just recently visited the state."

    He added that he viewed the DPRK's declaration that it may at some stage return to the six-party talks, which involve the DPRK, Japan, China, South Korea, the United States and Russia was a "positive step".

    "The East Asian Community will probably be another topic of discussion, we hope by exchanging frank opinions we will be able to come up with a more concrete idea of what it will look like," Okada said.

Editor: Li Xianzhi
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