Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday he wanted cooperation between the two countries and the United States in maintaining an open and peaceful South China Sea, a Japanese government spokesman said.
Abe also told Park during a bilateral summit in Seoul that the situation in the strategic waterway was “a common cause of concern for international society”, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda told reporters.
Last week a US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed close to China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said its warships tracked and warned the American vessel.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned US Ambassador Max Baucus over the incident, calling the US patrol “extremely irresponsible". The ministry earlier said the USS Lassen “illegally” entered waters near islands and reefs in the Spratlys without the Chinese government’s permission.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade passes every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)