By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – Japan on Friday called for a “free and open international order based on the rule of law,” stressing that peace cannot be ensured in the world through use of force.
“We must uphold universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law that our predecessors have established to maintain peace and prosperity in each region and in the world,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a prerecorded video address to the UN General Assembly.
“I am convinced that the foundation of this undertaking is not force, but a free and open international order.”
Suga, who will step down as premier early next month, also stressed the importance of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
His speech came after a meeting of the Quad group, a loose security alliance of the US, Japan, India, and Australia aimed at countering China’s expanding influence in the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing said earlier on Friday that any regional cooperation mechanism “should not target or harm the interests of a third party,” warning that “a closed, exclusive clique targeting other countries … will find no support and is doomed to fail.”
However, Suga used his UN speech to assert that Japan will “closely collaborate with like-minded countries and regions and work strategically to fulfill this vision.”
“As the only country that has experienced the devastation of atomic bombings, Japan will endeavor to bridge the gaps among countries with different positions and contribute to international efforts towards the realization of a world free from nuclear weapons,” he said.
He also called for “concrete negotiations” on reforms to make the UN Security Council a “more effective body that reflects the realities of the 21st century.”
On the situation in Afghanistan, Suga stressed the need “to ensure that humanitarian aid organizations can safely deliver assistance and that human rights, especially those of women, are protected.”