ASEAN, Japan likely to discuss respective territorial row with China in ASEAN-Japan summit this week

By Janice M. Cave

MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — The ASEAN bloc and Japan would likely discuss the territorial row with China during the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit scheduled on Dec 12 to 15.

Pres. Benigno Aquino III, who is set to leave for Tokyo this week to attend the summit, said the purpose of the visit is mainly to reaffirm the relationship between Japan and the ASEAN bloc.

But he said issues that are affecting stability in the region could also be discussed.

“The relationship between ASEAN and Japan is the focal point of engagement but if there are other issues, we’re certainly open to disscussions,” Aquino said.

“Anything that creates tension and instability is a concern for all and everybody should focus in maintaining a stable region,” he added.

The Philippines and Japan both have respective territorial disputes with China.

The Philippines is locked in a long-standing dispute with China over several islands in oil-rich West Philippine Sea while Japan and Beijing are also contesting ownership of Senkaku islands, called Diaoyu by China .

The summit came at a time when China established an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea.

The zone — which encompasses some areas currently controlled by South Korea or Japan — has drawn intense protests from Japan and South Korea, as well as their allies United States and the Philippines. (PNA)