Japan and the EU should not be drawn into a military belt to confront China – Alfred Sant

Alfred Sant

Last Updated on Friday, 12 January, 2024 at 1:51 pm by Andre Camilleri

In his contribution to a European Parliament plenary debate about a Report on EU-Japan relations former Prime Minister Alfred Sant noted that the 50-year milestone of diplomatic ties between the European Union and Japan is testament to the enduring relationship between the two sides. Their shared goals especially in addressing global challenges, highlight the necessity for an even closer partnership to counter growing tensions globally, he claimed.

Alfred Sant acknowledged that Japan’s economic and strategic central role in the Indo-Pacific region aligns with the EU’s efforts to reinforce its own presence there. While he agreed that the Report fosters a comprehensive EU-Japan partnership, Sant expressed strong reservations on the way it drew Japan and the EU into a military and security belt to confront China. “That is not the way by which the complex geopolitical dynamics and tensions that have been growing in the region need to be addressed”, he stressed.

Japan is the EU’s closest strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region and a key ally for the implementation of the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The Report examines the state of play of EU-Japan relations including the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement. It enquires into opportunities for deeper cooperation in particular social concerns and research collaboration among others.

Labour MEP Alfred Sant concurred with the emphasis brought forward in the Report on the mutual commitment to peace, security, environmental responsibility, and human rights. “In particular, the condemnation of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine underscores the need for a strengthened understanding between allies of how to react to flagrant breaches of international law”, he opined.

The Report was approved with 599 votes in favour including Sant’s, 32 votes against and 44 abstentions.

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