PM Lee urges all parties involved in East China Sea row to maintain restraint
- POSTED: 14 Dec 2013 05:16
This graph is an experimental feature that tracks number of views over time.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said countries should avoid taking action which could escalate or lead to misunderstanding and unintended consequences.
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged all parties involved in territorial disputes in the East China Sea to maintain restraint.
In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK on 9 December at the Istana, Mr Lee said countries should avoid taking action which could escalate or lead to misunderstanding and unintended consequences.
Last month, China declared a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), which requires foreign planes to file their flight plans before flying through it.
China had warned that it would employ "defensive emergency measures" if this requirement is not met.
Japan has called for the zone to be scrapped.
And on 8 December, South Korea announced the expansion of its own Air Defence Identification Zone in a clear reaction to China's latest move.
Mr Lee said he believes none of the parties wants a conflict.
He added that good relations between the countries need to be addressed progressively over time.
And that this cannot be done quickly due to historical issues involving deep sentiments and expectations from the people.
Mr Lee said even though Singapore is not in Northeast Asia, it also has concerns from a civil aviation point of view.
Singapore is an air hub and many of its flights pass through Northeast Asia.
Mr Lee said Singapore has sought clarification from China on what the ADIZ means for civil aviation.
ASEAN and Japan will mark the 40th anniversary of their friendship and cooperation with a so-called commemorative summit in Tokyo on Saturday.
Mr Lee told NHK that it is important not only to celebrate the milestone but also to work towards substantial achievements.
He said there should be serious commitment to reach an agreement on the services chapter of the ASEAN-Japan Free Trade Agreement.
It has been more than 10 years since both parties launched this initiative.
Another area in which ASEAN and Japan can cooperate further is in civil aviation.
Mr Lee noted that air services have not grown as much as they could have.
He said it will be good if ASEAN and Japan can enhance air links as this will improve travel, business and opportunities to integrate the respective economies.
Turning to ties between Singapore and Japan, Mr Lee said Singapore has had good relationships with successive governments in Japan.
Both countries are learning from each other's experiences in the areas of an ageing population, inadequate births and low fertility rates, added Mr Lee.
Mr Lee has arrived in Tokyo. He met his counterpart Shinzo Abe on Friday.
Mr Lee will also attend the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit.