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Abe pledges to strengthen ties with Indonesia, ASEAN


14:15, January 19, 2013

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) speaks during a joint press conference with Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 18, 2013. Indonesia is the final stop of Abe's three-nation Asian tour. (Xinhua/Agung Kuncahya B.)

JAKARTA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here on Friday, unveiling Japan's foreign policy in the region and agreeing to boost economic cooperation with Indonesia.

Prime Minister Abe's visit to Indonesia is part of his Southeast Asia visit including Vietnam and Thailand, where he shared with his counterparts Japan's foreign policy.

"This time I decided to visit the ASEAN countries in view of the path that ASEAN members are striving to establish community in 2015," he said.

Abe said that the relationship with ASEAN member countries is important as Japan seeks to contribute to the peace and stability of the region.

"We are witnessing a dramatically changing strategic landscape in Asia, but Japan seeks equal partnership with ASEAN for the peaceful and prosperity of Asia," he said.

"... so we would like to strengthen our relationship with ASEAN and our neighboring countries because it would serve the national interest of Japan and also contribute to the prosperity and stability of the region," he said.

"Cooperating with the ASEAN members, we will ensure that the open seas be governed by law and not by might," said Abe.

Abe also said that Japan supports the presence of the United States in the region.

"I welcome American rebalancing to Asia," he said.

During the meeting with President Yudhoyono, Abe said that they agreed to work to boost trade and investment between the two countries.

"President Yudhoyono and I agreed to make bilateral economic relationship even stronger," Abe said.

Yudhoyono also said that both countries were committed to increasing trade volume and investment in the near future.

"We are open to cooperation with Japan in economic development, " said Yudhoyono.

Abe said that Japan will continue to assist Indonesian effort in building transport infrastructure, including mass transport facility and other infrastructural programs.

On the recent terrorist act in Algeria that killed three people, Abe said that he and President Yudhoyono strongly condemned such action.

"President and I came to a complete agreement that such despicable act of terrorism causing heavy casualties should never be condoned and should be condemned in its strongest term," said Abe.

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