Asean, Japan agree on 'freedom of overflight' amid China row
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan and South-east Asian countries agreed on Saturday to ensure freedom of movement in the skies, in the first major gathering of the continent's leaders since China declared a controversial air defence zone.
At a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the leaders of Asean, they "agreed to enhance cooperation in ensuring freedom of overflight and civil aviation safety".
The statement will be seen as a mild rap across the knuckles for Beijing, which is embroiled in sovereignty spats with Tokyo and four members of Asean.
The communique came at the end of a special summit to mark the 40 years of ties between Japan and the bloc, during which Mr Abe pledged US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in aid and loans to the region over five years.