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Japan seeks Asean backing on China with $25 billion pledge

Published on Dec 14, 2013 10:47 AM
Asean leaders hold hands for a photo session of Japan-Asean Commemorative Summit at Akasaka State Guesthouse in Tokyo on Dec 13, 2013. (From left) Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Brunei King Hassanal Bolkiah, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP)- Japan pledged US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in aid and loans to South-east Asia on Saturday, in its latest charm offensive to woo global public opinion in a territorial dispute with China.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered the cash over five years for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) at a celebratory summit to mark 40 years of ties with the bloc.

The announcement crowns a year of courting by Mr Abe, who has visited all 10 countries in the grouping at least once since he came to power last year, always with one eye on wresting back influence in the region from China.

"Together with Asean, I want to build the future of Asia where laws, rather than power, rule and people who worked hard will be rewarded - which would lead to a prosperous society with mutual respect."

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