Japan supports US military base enforcement in Australia, official

Nusa Dua (ANTARA News) - Japan supports the United States in strengthening its naval base in Darwin, Australia by deploying 2,500 marines in he area, Press Secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Yutaka Yokoi said here on Saturday.

"We welcome the US decision to that effect, because it will enhance the stability and security in the southeast asia region," he said.

Asked if the US movement would cause tension in the South China Sea, Yukata said Japan did not hope so and the country believed the US would not want it either.

Yutaka also said the sea was the property of the public. Therefore, related countries need to have common rules on how to conduct there.

China and some ASEAN countries, namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, have been in a dispute with regard to their claim to some oil-and-gas rich islands in the South China Sea including the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

Last July, during the 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bali, ASEAN and China reached agreement on guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct (DoC) for South China Sea claimant countries.

"We agree on the guidelines of the implementation of DoC, in addition to that, the foreign ministers of China and ASEAN will soon formally endorse them," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said.

Liu added ASEAN and China were expected to soon start the implementation of the DoC and discuss upcoming projects that they would initiate. "China is going to host the next joint working group meeting with ASEAN some time in November and we are going to articulate areas of cooperation and start the implementation of the projects," he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa welcomed the progress reached in efforts to solve the South China Sea conflict saying that the next move that needed to be made was restoring and maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.(*)

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