Door always open for dialogue with China: Japan PM

japan-abe-koreaIn a bid to ease strained relations between Beijing and Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe has said that his door is always open for dialogue and stressed that normal and cooperative relations with China was desirable for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking to  The Australian, Mr. Abe, who is on a three day visit to Australia,  said Japan and China were “inextricably linked”, as he sought to ease China’s uneasiness about the recently expanded role of the Japanese military.

“Japan and China are inextricably linked to each other. It is not uncommon for various unresolved issues to exist between neighbouring countries,” he said, adding “My door is always open for dialogue. I sincerely hope that China takes the same approach,” he said in Canberra.

Accusing Japan of disregarding the regional security status quo, China, along with South Korea, has been irked by relaxed restrictions on the use of the Japanese armed forces. In a decision that is expected to have far reaching effects on regional security arrangements, the Japanese government, on July 1, reinterpreted the constitution allowing it greater use of its military to defend allies.

In Australia, Mr. Abe attended a meeting of the cabinet-level National Security Committee in Canberra and addressed the Australian parliament on July 7. Japan and Australia also signed a slew of comprehensive free trade and defence agreements, including plans to jointly develop stealth submarine technology.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, however, was quick to dismiss suggestions that a defence deal with Japan was against China, Australia’s largest trade partner. “Australia welcomes Japan’s recent decision to be a more capable strategic partner in our region. I stress: Ours is not a partnership against anyone. It’s a partnership for peace, for prosperity and for the rule of law. Our objective is engagement. We both welcome the greater trust and openness in our region that’s exemplified by China’s participation in this year’s RimPac (Rim of the Pacific) naval exercises.”

Both Abe and also voiced their enthusiasm to join hands and work with the US, an ally of both the countries.

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