UNSC reforms important for India, Japan: Aso

UNSC reforms important for India, Japan: Aso

Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso says reform of the UN Security Council Was “tremendously important" for both India and his country and expects China to back Tokyo’s campaign for a permanent seat under the G-4 initiative.

“The UN Security Council reform is a tremendously important issue for Japan and India. Japan, together with other G-4 members, i.e. India, Germany and Brazil, has been working for the realisation of UNSC reform," Aso said.

“Although the G-4 resolution tabled in the UN General Assembly in 2005 was not adopted, the momentum towards UN Security Council reform became as high as ever," Aso said in an e-mail interview ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to Japan.

Due to close cooperation among G-4 countries, he noted that the UN General Assembly, at the end of its last session, decided to start inter-governmental negotiations by the end of February 2009.

“Japan will actively fulfill its responsibility as a non-permanent member of the UNSC from January 2009 and, towards the early realisation of the UNSC reform, continue to cooperate with G-4 members and other countries in order to draft a resolution which can be supported by as many countries as possible," Aso, who was earlier foreign minister, said.

The new Japanese prime minister also appeared confident that China, one of the five permanent members of the UNSC, would not block Tokyo’s quest for the same.

Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council has met with strong opposition from countries like China, North Korea, and South Korea, apparently due to “historical issues" linked to Japanese occupation of those countries.

Chinese analysts say Beijing cannot trust Japan as they are suspicious of Tokyo’s real intentions and its military alliance with the US.

“China and Japan also share the view that the Security Council needs to be reformed.

“At the Japan-China summit meeting in May 2008, in response to our request for support to Japan’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council, (Chinese) President Hu Jintao said that China attached importance to Japan’s position and role in the United Nations and desired Japan to play an even greater constructive role in the international community," he said.

Aso said that Japan will keep strengthening the bilateral dialogues with China on this issue at diverse levels.

About his campaign for the establishment of an “arc of freedom and prosperity" in the region, Aso said that Japan has been cooperating with countries of South East Asia, Central Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe, which are developing democracy and market economy, through dialogues as well as Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“As I have said at the UN General Assembly in September, peace and happiness are most certainly within our grasp through the pursuit of economic prosperity and democracy, and I am determined to cooperate with other countries based on this philosophy. I will continue this cooperation...," he said.

The concept of “Arc of freedom and prosperity" envisages the attainment of peace and prosperity for the world, and is not an initiative to exclude certain countries, he said, allaying apprehensions about China.

“China is an important neighbour of Japan, and the two countries are making sincere efforts to establish a ‘mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests,“ Aso added.