Japan seeks defence ties with Asean amid China rows
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan on Wednesday called for stronger security ties with Southeast Asia as Tokyo looks to boost alliances at a time of growing territorial tensions with China.
Vice-minister level representatives from Japan and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) began a two-day gathering at a Tokyo hotel, with several participating nations embroiled in sovereignty rows with Beijing.
"The Asia-Pacific region has various issues concerning security and defence... including territorial conflicts in the South China Sea," Vice Defence Minister Akinori Eto told the opening session of the closed-door meeting.
"On top of the growing maturity of our economic cooperation, Japan and Asean need to further strengthen ties in the field of security and defence," Mr Eto said.