TOKYO: Leaders of Japan, China and South Korea jointly hammered out a plan on Wednesday to strengthen the three countries’ support to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ efforts to overcome the novel coronavirus pandemic.
At an online summit meeting of the 10 ASEAN member states plus Japan, China and South Korea, Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio said that his country has provided some 16 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to ASEAN member states.
Regional cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region is “extremely important for peace and prosperity,” Kishida also said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pointed to the need for participating countries to bolster their cooperation while taking measures to contain the novel coronavirus.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that a better recovery can be achieved through solidarity and cooperation.
Ahead of the meeting of the ASEAN Plus Three framework, Kishida expressed in a Japan-ASEAN online summit meeting Japan’s plan to boost cooperation with ASEAN in digitalization, the strengthening of supply chains and the fight against climate change.
Kishida criticized China’s unilateral changes to the status quo in the East and South China seas as “challenges to the maritime order based on the rule of law,” saying that he shares the grave concerns held by ASEAN member states and strongly opposes the moves.
The leaders also confirmed cooperation over dealing with North Korea, which has been launching ballistic missiles, and the situation in Myanmar, which is in a state of chaos after a coup.