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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9  > Shii answers questions from Vietnam’s Diplomatic Academy students
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2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9 [JCP]

Shii answers questions from Vietnam’s Diplomatic Academy students

December 27, 2023
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo delivered a lecture titled “Aiming to build peace in East Asia” on December 25 at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), and answered questions from academy students.

Q: What can Japan do in cooperation with ASEAN to realize the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)?

A: There are two things.

Firstly, Japan is one of the official participating countries in the East Aia Summit (EAS). The EAS has accumulated agreements among the participating countries at its annual summit meetings. The Japanese government should work to utilize, strengthen, and develop the EAS as a forum for dialogue. This is one of the two things.

Another thing is that Japan should proactively work to resolve pending issues unique in Northeast Asia. This region lacks a “habit of having dialogue.” It is absolutely necessary that a “habit of having dialogue” becomes the norm in this region.

I’d like to explain the JCP’s efforts to achieve this.

First is that the JCP made a diplomatic proposal for a positive breakthrough in Japan-China relations. The two countries in their relationship have experienced various tensions and disagreements. Both sides are at fault for this. Only through dialogue can a breakthrough in bilateral relations be achieved. The JCP in March 2023 submitted its proposal in this regard to the Japanese and Chinese governments.

The JCP examined all agreements which the two governments made in the past as well as the two nations’ diplomatic policies, and found that there are three points of “common ground” that will help overcome the current situation.

First is an agreement made in 2008 between the Japanese and Chinese leaders that the two countries are “not threats to each other”.

Second is the 2014 Japan-China agreement to settle tensions in the East China Sea including the Senkaku Islands through “dialogue and consultation”.

Third is the two governments’ approval for the AOIP in regard to a multilateral framework in East Asia.

The JCP proposed that the two governments make diplomatic efforts based on this “common foundation” and consolidate relations of friendship. In preparing the proposal, we focused on making this proposal acceptable to both Tokyo and Beijing as well as being effective if implemented seriously. We learned this stance from ASEAN. We received positive responses from both the Japanese and Chinese governments. We’d like to urge the two governments to advance the process of dialogue between the two countries even if it takes time.

Secondly, the Korean War is still on hold. The JCP strictly condemns North Korea for launching missiles including ballistic missiles. At the same time, only through dialogue can issues on the Korean Peninsula be resolved. In this regard, the 2002 Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration gives a clue to Japan as it calls for a comprehensive resolution of North Korea's nuclear weapons/missile development issues in addition to several other issues such as North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals and Japan's past war of aggression. The JCP strongly demands that a path to dialogue between Japan and North Korea be established based on this Declaration.

Thirdly, a specific East Asian problem in regard to the historical questions remains. Japan in the past waged wars of aggression and held colonial rule. Nevertheless, Japan still lacks sincere remorse for its past criminality. This hampers the East Asian region from building true friendships. The JCP strongly demands that the Japanese government sincerely face up to its past wars and colonial domination of neighbors.

Japan should make every possible effort to build a genuine peace in East Asia. It is necessary to shape a “habit of having dialogue” in the region in order to: further develop the EAS and make a success of the AOIP together with ASEAN and resolve matters of concern unique to East Asia through diplomacy. Our strong desire is that the “habit of having dialogue” which is now common in Southeast Asia will be carried over to East Asia.

Q; What can you do to remove frictions in the region over the South China Sea issue?

A: Our party is opposed to the move to change the status quo forcibly in the South China Sea. This issue should be settled diplomatically in accordance with the UN Charter, the UN Convention on the Law of the SEA (UNCLOS), and rules set in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). Efforts are been continuously made to have the DOC evolve into a formal Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). The JCP supports this approach.

In the East China Sea, there is also a move to change the status quo by force. We are strongly opposed to this move as well. As mentioned before, Japan and China have an agreement to resolve issues through “dialogue and consultation”. We believe it is important to settle the issues diplomatically and establish some kind of formal codes like the DOC.

Q: Compared with your last visit to Vietnam five years ago, how do you assess the subsequent development of Japan-Vietnam relations?

A: We welcome the comprehensive strategic partnership formed between Japan and Vietnam when President Vo Van Thuong visited Japan. The JCP is an opposition party and is in sharp confrontation with the current government. However, we find the progress in our bilateral friendship most welcome. We hope that development of relations between the JCP and the CPV will contribute to further enriching the ties between our countries.

Q: ASEAN is a symbol of the culture of dialogue. What do you think is the reason for this?

A: Before I came here, I visited Indonesia and had an opportunity to meet with former Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda. I asked him the reason why the “habit of having dialogue” prevailed throughout ASEAN. He answered that it was a “product of diversity”. ASEAN countries are located in a region full of diversity. The region has much variety in economies, ethnic groupings, religions, and social structures. Because of this, dialogue is needed, he said. Here is where I find the secret of ASEAN’s success.
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