Jakarta. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi underlined the need to respect international maritime laws on Friday as he addressed Southeast Asian countries, several of which are involved in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.
During his visit to the Asean Secretariat (ASEC) in South Jakarta, Motegi said Japan is eager to strengthen ties with the 10 Asean member countries to give a new momentum for maritime economy.
Motegi also revealed his government’s plan to establish coast guard cooperation with Indonesia.
In his special lecture, the minister highlighted Asean's key agreements including the Asean Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) which was initiated by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in 2019.
One of AOIP's prioritized sectors comprises the connectivity within the maritime sphere with the region being dubbed as a veritable gold mine.
"The Indo-Pacific is among the most dynamic region in the world with almost half of the global population residing here. However, it should be regulated within the respect of transparent and clear international maritime laws," Motegi said.
As a maritime hub in the Indo-Pacific, Asean's compliance to these laws is crucial in creating a socio-economic stability and alleviating sea disputes.
"In its foreign diplomacy for Asean, Japan has also taken three approaches, [including] the nurture of human resources, revamping institutions and amassing our wisdom. All of which are carried out with gotong royong, or teamwork, with a sense of caring and robustness," Motegi said.
The implementation of these approaches proved to be inseparable from the maritime domain.
"Within the scope of human resources, the Japan Coast Guard seeks to cooperate with the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) this year. Several Japanese experts will be delegated to Bakamla to share their knowledge and experience on their institutional management system and law enforcement," he said.
"[Regarding amassing our wisdom], I believe that the best practices derive from diversity of Asean's wisdom. By combining concrete information on people's lifestyle and ocean dumping, we can combat against the imminent marine plastic pollution," Motegi said.
His Jakarta visit marked the last stop of his first Asean voyage after being appointed as the foreign minister.
Prior to his ASEC lecture, Motegi had also met with Jokowi and his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, to discuss on the maritime economy including investments on the Natuna waters.