TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi, has stated that he is willing to cooperate with China to realize an open Indo-Pacific region, in a lecture held in the ASEAN Secretariat, Jalan Sisingamangaraja, South Jakarta, on Friday, January 10th 2020.
The lecture, titled as the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC)'s "Special Lecture on Japan's Foreign Policy" provided by Motegi, cited that Japan holds great interest in ASEAN's vision of the Indo-Pacific Region, as stipulated on the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP), an initiative started by Indonesia.
"Japan fully supports the goals presented in the AOIP and expresses its greatest compliments to the leadership demonstrated by Indonesia in creating this initiative," said Motegi.
The Indo-Pacific region, which notably includes the South China Sea, is a region that covers the Indian and Pacific Oceans, bisected by Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. Taking into context, the recent disputes over Natuna Waters, Riau Islands, Motegi has cited the waters of the Indo-Pacific region to be public goods for the entire international community, in accordance with the international law of the sea.
"Since Japan has developed as a maritime and global trading nation, Japan’s prosperity also heavily depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific," explained Motegi.
The conflict in Natuna Waters, dissolved only recently by President Jokowi's visit to the region, is only one among many international disputes over maritime territories. With both Japan and Indonesia being archipelagoes with great interest in the Indo-Pacific as a result of their sizeable Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), Motegi believes that adhering to international laws is paramount in maintaining regional order.
"There needs to be an open maritime [sea] based on the rule of law. So, the South China Sea should not be monopolized alone, as the rule of law for other stakeholders need to be established fully. We can cooperate with China to (achieve) an open Indo-Pacific," answered Motegi when asked on Japan's stance on the AOIP.
In an effort to enforce maritime security, the Japanese Coast Guard will start to provide training for Indonesia's Maritime Security Board (Bakamla), this year. "[The Japan Coast Guard] will send its specialists to Bakamla at full scale, with a goal of sharing its expertise on the management of coast guards organisations and actual law enforcement activities," explained Motegi.