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Japan to host ASEAN summit on maritime security in 2013.

TOKYO, July 10 Kyodo

Japan has decided to host a special summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations late next year to strengthen their maritime security cooperation at a time when China is rapidly expanding its naval capacity in Asian waters, government sources said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba is likely to announce the plan at the Japan-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in Cambodia on Wednesday, the sources added.

At the planned summit, Japan and the ASEAN members are expected to issue a joint communique that would become a new guideline for strengthening their ties on maritime security, while mapping out a subsequent action plan, they said.

A Japan-ASEAN summit has been held every year since 2009, but this would be the second time Japan has hosted a meeting between its prime minister and leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries since December 2003.

Concerns over Beijing's growing assertiveness in resource-rich Asian waters have been growing recently. Chinese boats have repeatedly been spotted in a contiguous zone near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan, while ASEAN countries have been involved in disputes with China over maritime borders in the South China Sea.

Japan's decision to hold the special summit with the ASEAN members reflects its belief that they have a common interest in maritime security, the sources said.

Japan and the ASEAN nations, meanwhile, are likely to agree to boost their economic ties in the joint communique as the ASEAN region is aiming to create an economic community by 2015.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Jul 16, 2012
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