Japan, Malaysia will cooperate to ensure freedom of navigation in S. China Sea

Shinzo Abe and Mahathir bin Mohammed met in Tokyo on June 12 to discuss regional issues, and agreed on the need to maintain free and open trade routes in the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait

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Prime Ministers of Japan and Malaysia met in Tokyo on June 12 (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammed met the Prime Minister of Japan in Tokyo on June 12.

The two discussed a number of important issues regarding the region and bilateral relations. One notable point of agreement reached between the two leaders involved the South China Sea and the mutual interest of Japan and Malaysia in maintaining freedom of navigation in the region.

In the face of increasingly imperious actions and statements of China concerning the South China Sea, leaders of both Malaysia and Japan have signaled that they will stand with the international community to ensure the region remains a safe and accessible region for free trade.

Abe was quoted as saying that the South China Sea as well as the Strait of Malacca are crucial trade areas that must be ruled by international law, and kept open for international commerce, in order to ensure peace and prosperity in the region.

Mahathir was quoted by the Straits Times as saying “We agreed that we should keep the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea for navigation for all countries.”

The two also agreed that Malaysia and Japan would cooperate in dealing with developments on the Korean Peninsula to assist and encourage complete denuclearization of North Korea.

On the same day, Mahathir also made the announcement that the Malaysian government was planning to re-open an embassy in Pyongyang, in a clear sign that North Korea’s efforts at cultivating a more positive relationship with nations in the region appear to be having an effect.