The Daily Manila Shimbun


Japan, US, Australia voice deep concerns over S. China Sea rows

August 7, 2017

MANILA- The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and Australia on Monday expressed serious concerns over disputes in the South China Sea, where China is increasing its moves to build military facilities.

In a joint statement issued after their strategic dialogue in Manila, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also voiced their strong opposition to any unilateral moves aimed at changing the status quo and could heighten tensions in the East China Sea.

They agreed to communicate closely in dealing with the maritime situations.

The three also welcomed a fresh resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on Saturday to strengthen sanctions on North Korea following the reclusive state's firing of two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

Kono, Tillerson and Bishop also urged Pyongyang to immediately take measures toward its denuclearization while confirming that Japan, the United States and Australia will keep their respective North Korea sanctions in place.

This was the seventh ministerial strategic dialogue between Japan, the United States and Australia and the first since the administration of US President Donald Trump was launched in January this year. The last such dialogue took place in July 2016.

The ministers are visiting the Philippine capital to attend meetings related to the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations.

On Sunday night, Kono expressed deep concerns on Sunday over China's island-building and militarization in the South China Sea.

Japan will continue to press for the demilitarization of the sea, Kono said at a meeting with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila.

Kono expressed hopes that China and ASEAN will draw up a binding and effective code of conduct in the sea at an early date after the two sides adopted the framework of the code earlier on Sunday. Jiji Press