Abe's successor has a tough act to follow

One of the key tasks is to keep up the build on goodwill and strong links in South-east Asia

A 2012 file picture of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bowing after being officially elected as Japan's new prime minister at the House of Representatives in Tokyo. Not all Mr Abe touched turned to gold, says the writer. At home, his much-vaunted
A 2012 file picture of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bowing after being officially elected as Japan's new prime minister at the House of Representatives in Tokyo. Not all Mr Abe touched turned to gold, says the writer. At home, his much-vaunted Abenomics has had a mixed record of reviving the economy. His right-wing inclinations have also been viewed with some suspicion. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The 2014 Shangri-La Dialogue saw Mr Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, making his mark. Then, expectations were high that he would address China's maritime adventurism in the South China Sea.

He did not disappoint. In his keynote speech, Mr Abe made clear that disputant states must adhere to three overarching principles with regard to the "rule of law at sea": adherence to international law, restraint in the use of coercion and/or force, and settling territorial disputes peacefully.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2020, with the headline 'Abe's successor has a tough act to follow'. Print Edition | Subscribe