Noda stresses on importance of international law to resolve territorial rows at ASEAN

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 06:20 hrs

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has emphasized on the importance of international law in resolving territorial rows in the South China Sea.

He laid importance on international laws during a summit in Cambodia with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Diplomats said that Noda's remarks reflect Japan's desire for vigilance in the face of China's rapidly expanding naval capacity in resource-rich Asian waters, as the two nations are locked in the bitter dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Noda told the ASEAN members that issues related to the South China Sea are an 'international common concern', without specifying China by name, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Noda, however, said the Japan-China relationship is 'one of (Japan's) most important bilateral relationships' and his administration will deal with matters between the two countries in a 'calm and peaceful' manner, the ministry said.

According to the Japan Times, on Sunday, ASEAN nations urged China to quickly begin top-level talks over tense territorial disputes, after forging a united position on how to tackle their giant neighbor.

"On the ASEAN side, (we are) ready, willing and very much committed but it takes two to tango," ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told reporters after the Southeast Asian leaders held their own talks in Phnom Penh.

"The ASEAN side is ready and waiting for our Chinese friends to come forward," Pitsuwan added.

He said the ASEAN leaders wanted to begin 'more formal and official' talks on a legally binding code of conduct aimed at easing tensions in the South China Sea 'as soon as possible', the report said.

According to the report, relations between Tokyo and Beijing have been strained since the former purchased some of the Senkaku islands from their owners. (ANI)

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