New Delhi: A new Prime Minister of Japan – Yoshihide Suga to visit Indonesia and Vietnam next week. This is going to be the first visit of Suga after taking office in September.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato announced on Friday that as per the schedule Suga will make his first foreign visit in this post from October 18-21.
According to international politics expert – Japan’s new leader could develop strategic relations with Indonesia and Vietnam to counter any unexpected activity of any nation.
A special advisor to Suga and former diplomat Kunihiko Miyake said that “I think it is important to show … we put more emphasis and importance on that region and we are interested in the security situation, especially in the South China Sea,”
A new challenge for Japan will be – balance its deep economic ties with China with security concerns including Beijing’s push to assert claims over disputed East China Sea isles.
On the Japan’s international relation – associate director at the Rand Corporation’s Center for Asia-Pacific Policy Scott Harold said that “Japan’s approach is to be firm, calm and advance its interests without asking countries to explicitly push back against China.”
Japanese Media reported that “Japan plans to sign an agreement with Vietnam to allow it to export defence equipment and technology to the country,”
A Japanese official said Japan was talking about enhancing defence cooperation with both Hanoi and Jakarta but could not comment on the outcomes.
Earlier Suga already attended meeting of the ‘QUAD’ which is informal grouping of India, Australia, Japan and the United States, which Washington sees as a bulwark against China.
China had called ‘QUAD’ as a “mini-NATO” to contain China.
Euan Graham at the Singapore-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said that “Indonesia, which puts a high primacy on ASEAN’s centrality, is going to be very ambivalent about the Quad because it undermines that whole principle … They are unlikely to jump on the quad bandwagon,”
“Suga’s visit also coincides with Japan’s efforts to diversify its supply chains and reduce reliance on China by bringing production home or locating more in Southeast Asia. He will likely announce an expansion of Japan’s subsidies for production in Southeast Asia on his trip,” According to the Japanese media report.