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Difficult trilateral relations

Updated: 2013-12-13 07:00
By Yang Danzhi ( China Daily)

A special three-day summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is scheduled to start on Dec 13, but Kyodo news agency has already reported that the two sides have reached an agreement on maintaining airspace safety over the high seas and will release a joint statement on the issue. The reported move is widely seen as targeting China's newly established Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.

Will the summit issue a joint statement aimed at China? What direction will Japan-ASEAN relations take? And does the intimate Japan-ASEAN relationship being bandied about by Japan mean the two sides will forge a strategic alliance against China in certain fields? China has enough reasons to be concerned about these questions.

The introduction of the Fukuda Doctrine in the 1970s marked Japan's major strategic shift toward ASEAN. The doctrine says Japan will never become a military power, and will develop "heart-to-heart" relations with Southeast Asian countries and commit itself as an equal partner in establishing peace and prosperity in the region.

Difficult trilateral relations