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Security, N Korean abductions to top Japan's agenda at ASEAN talks

Japan's committed to actively engage with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on security issues exacerbated by tension in the South China Sea. It also seeks ASEAN's support in its negotiations with North Korea on the possible release of Japanese kidnapped in the 70s and 80s.

TOKYO: Japan will be establishing new ties and reaffirming old relationships at the three-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' meeting in Myanmar's capital, according to foreign ministry officials.

Vietnam will be among the ASEAN nations benefitting from Japan's Overseas Development Assistant Framework. Six patrol boats will be deployed to the Southeast Asian nation, including ones used by the Japanese Coast Guard. The boats will come in handy, with Vietnam's in the midst of a territorial row with China in the South China Sea - a similar dispute shared by Japan in the East China Sea which has raised tensions between Asia's two largest economies in recent months. 

Japan's goodwill also extends to the Philippines where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to cooperate in June on the provisions of patrol vessels for maritime safety.

Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is also expected to seek wider international support for Mr Abe's security policy.The policy's been revised to include the right to collective self-defence and the lifting of the export ban on defence equipment and technology.

Other meetings will include policy discussions on maritime security, disaster relief, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Despite shaky ties with China and South Korea, Mr Kishida will meet his counterparts at the ASEAN plus-3 meeting. He will promote cooperation on issues of culture, education, tourism and the economy.

On the sidelines, Japan and North Korea are expected to hold its first foreign ministerial meeting in 10 years, as Pyongyang has promised to reveal the whereabouts of Japanese abducted during the 70s and 80s.  

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