Japan will propose a strategic dialogue among
leaders of the United States, India and Australia, aiming at counteracting
China’s expansion under its “Belt and Road” policy, foreign minister Taro Kono
told Japanese business daily.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to propose
the idea to US President Donald Trump on November 6 when they plan to hold a
summit meeting, the daily quoted the
foreign minister, in a significant political development before the President Trump's
first visit to Asian countries since he assumed office.
The proposal is for the leaders of the four
nations to promote free trade and defence cooperation across land and sea to
Southeast, South and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East and Africa,
Kono said in the interview with the daily conducted on October 25.
“We are in an era when Japan has to exert itself
diplomatically by drawing a big strategic picture,” the foreign minister was
quoted as saying. “To maintain free and open ocean, the economy and security
will surely be on the table,” he said.
Kono said the aim was to also promote
high-quality infrastructure investment across Asia to Africa the statement
indicating parallel effort will one to
counter the one promoted by China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vast Belt and Road
infrastructure project was included in the ruling Communist Party’s
constitution on Tuesday, giving it greater policy thrust and added pressure to
succeed. The Belt and Road plan, a Silk Road-like initiative, is a vehicle for
China to take a greater role on the international stage by funding and building
global transport and trade links in more than 60 countries.