New Delhi: Making his country’s unease clear in a veiled manner about Chinese military assertiveness in the South China Sea (SCS) without naming Beijing, a top Japanese diplomat posted in New Delhi has said Japan “remains seriously concerned about the situation on the ground attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo continue, and militarisation of disputed features”.
He added that Japan “considers India as an indispensable strategic partner to work hand-in-hand to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific “.
Speaking in Delhi on “Maritime Security in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean: Exploring Convergent Views”, Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) — now functioning as Chargé d’Affaires (CdA)— Toshihide Ando said, “If we turn our eyes to the South China Sea, attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo continue, and militarisation of disputed features has not ceased. Japan remains seriously concerned about the situation on the ground as other partners do.”
He added that the Japanese vision of the Indo-Pacific region “is not exclusive but inclusive” and “not aimed at creating any new institutions or excluding any country” and that “it is open to all countries, as long as they share its core concept”.
It may be recalled that Japan has serious maritime disputes with China. Also, a few south-east Asian nations like Vietnam and Philippines also have maritime disputes with China. It may also be recalled that the US, India, Japan and Australia are part of the four-nation “Quad” arrangement.