The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

October 17, 2014
On Friday, October 17, for approximately two hours from 10:00 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Retreat Session of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) 10 Summit held in Milan. During the session, statements were made by leaders from a total of 30 participating states, including the Chair, on a wide range of issues related to international and regional situations, such as countermeasures to the Ebola virus disease; the situation in the Middle East, including ISIL; the situation in Ukraine; the situation in the Korean Peninsula; maritime security; and other topics. The overview is as follows.

Ebola Virus Disease Countermeasures

Regarding Ebola virus disease countermeasures, particularly the leaders of Europe remarked that although most of the patients were concentrated in West Africa at present, the disease was a serious issue that would impact areas outside of Africa, and the international community should undertake every initiative on the issue, including the development of vaccines. Prime Minister Abe introduced Japan's latest contributions to this issue in the Second Plenary Session.

The Situation in the Middle East

Regarding the situation in the Middle East, leaders from each country stated that although the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was advocating Islam, it was a brutal terrorist organization completely unrelated to Islam, and the international community should undertake initiatives on the poverty reduction, that is one root cause of the problem, within the fight against terrorism. Prime Minister Abe pointed out that ISIL was a severe threat to overall international order, said that Japan would support the fight against terrorism by the international community, and announced that Japan would be offering all possible support, in a non-military form, including humanitarian aid.

The Situation in Ukraine

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, many of the leaders from participating countries remarked on the importance of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the importance of solving the problem through dialogue. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan could not accept a change to the status quo by coercion or intimidation, said that Japan would make contributions so that peace and stability could be achieved in the way the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine were respected. He also explained Japan's support for Ukraine.

North Korea

Regarding North Korea, the leaders of participating countries said that they were working for the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, and requested support and cooperation from ASEM member countries. Prime Minister Abe said that ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by North Korea continued to be a serious threat to the peace and stability of not only the Asian region but the international community as a whole. He also remarked that the abduction issue was a universal problem as it is a violation of basic human rights.

Maritime Security

Regarding maritime security, the leaders of each participating country expressed that they wished for secure sea, remarked on the importance of the rule of law, which includes the freedom of navigation and overflight, and stated that anti-piracy measures should be promoted. Prime Minister Abe pointed out the importance of the international maritime order based on the rule of law, and emphasized that the continuous protection of the sea as the commons for all the people of the world would provide a shared benefit to all countries.

The Diplomacy and Security Policy of Japan

Prime Minister Abe noted that Japan will contribute even more proactively to the peace and stability of the international community under its policy of "Proactive Contributor to Peace", based on the path of a peace-loving nation which Japan has steadily followed over the almost 70 years since the end of World War II, while cooperating with Asia and Europe.

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