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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9  > Shii in Jakarta meets with ASEAN deputy secretary-general
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2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9 TOP3 [JCP]

Shii in Jakarta meets with ASEAN deputy secretary-general

December 23, 2023

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo and Vice Chair Tamura Tomoko, visiting Southeast Asia, met with Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASEAN DSG for ASCC) Ekkaphab Phanthavong on December 21 at the ASEAN Secretariate Office in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Shii visited the ASEAN headquarters for the first time in ten years since September 2013. Exchange of views took place proactively on topics such as the progress in ASEAN’s efforts to ensure peace in the region, ASEAN’s concept of and approaches to peacebuilding, and the roles that political parties and civil society can play in coordination with ASEAN to maintain regional peace.

Shii first said that he pays attention to the success ASEAN has made in its attempt to promote its dialogues beyond the ASEAN boundary. He asked the ASEAN deputy secretary-general how ASEAN arranges meetings which are held as many as 1,500 times a year.

In response, Ekkaphab stressed the importance of the accumulation of dialogues and communications with countries outside ASEAN, and said that an effort is necessary to clarify the points of a meeting and place them in order in terms of both quality and quantity. He also said that ASEAN has played a central role in regional cooperation and has maintained bonds among ASEAN countries, which led to success. Ekkaphab explained that ASEAN has sought active involvement in countries outside the region but it has never taken sides with one or the other. He said that the important thing is to keep a neutral and balanced stance in promoting peace and stability.

Ekkaphab said that ASEAN is a moderate organization which accepts each country as a member of the family, helping and supporting each other. He added that there sometimes arises a disagreement within ASEAN but it always comes to some agreement through consultations. Regarding relationships with outside ASEAN partners or major countries which sit down at the negotiating table but do not accept ASEAN’s views, he emphasized the importance of making efforts to have them understand ASEAN’s views.

Shii stressed that he has the impression that the key to ASEAN’s success is that it promotes an inclusive architecture (regional structure or framework) which embraces all countries without excluding a specific country or external major powers. He introduced the JCP activities, such as making a proposal for a positive breakthrough in Japan-China relations and advocating a “diplomatic vision” seeking to work jointly with ASEAN countries to create a peaceful East Asia, aimed at supporting and promoting the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). He said, “I believe that in order to create a peaceful East Asia, in addition to inter-governmental efforts, cooperation and collaboration between governments and civil society organizations, including political parties, are important. I’d like to strengthen possible avenues of cooperation in this regard.”

Ekkaphab highly evaluated the JCP’s diplomatic vision and said that the JCP’s view matches the ASEAN’s stance promoting regional peace and stability. He said that it is important that different channels are established not only at the governmental level but also at the political party level in international relations in the region, and added that the ASEAN places importance on “peoples-to-peoples connectivity”.

* * *

December 20, 22, 23, 24, 27 and 28, 2023

In Indonesia, Shii held talks with an advisor to the Foreign Minister, Adam Tugio, on December 20 and a former Foreign Minister, Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, on December 21, respectively.

Dr. Hassan, during his tenure as foreign minister between 2001 and 2009, played a leading role in ASEAN’s regional diplomacy as shown in the launch of the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Shii on December 23 met with the General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee and the Lao President, Thongloun Sisoulith, in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. This is the first time that the JCP chair visited Laos. The two agreed to strengthen cooperation in working to realize a peaceful East Asia and a world without nuclear weapons.

On December 26 in Vietnam, Shii held talks with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong at the CPV head office. The two confirmed that the two parties will strengthen their cooperation in peacebuilding efforts in East Asia and further develop bilateral relations.

Shii recollected that the JCP, in talks with Trong five years ago, makes a commitment to work on the issue of protecting the labor rights of Vietnamese workers in Japan including those who work under Japan’s foreign trainee program. Shii said that since 2019, JCP lawmakers in the Diet have repeatedly demanded the implementation of government measures in this regard, and added that the JCP will continue working hard to improve the foreign trainee program.

On the previous day, Shii met with a permanent member of the CPV Central Committee Secretariat, Truong Thi Mai, who heads the Organization Commission of the CPV Central Committee. They affirmed that the JCP and the CPV will work in collaboration to promote the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), abolish nuclear weapons, and protect the human rights of Vietnamese trainees working in Japan.

Shii, during his visit in Vietnam, held talks with CPV External Relations Commission Chair Le Hoai Trung.
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