Thu, Feb 18, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Beijing cautions Canberra about Japanese subs

Reuters, BEIJING

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, right, speaks as Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop listens during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing yesterday.

Photo: AP

China yesterday called on Australia to take into account the feelings of Asian nations as Canberra contemplates buying a fleet of submarines from Japan.

In some of his strongest remarks on the possible deal, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) told reporters Australia should consider the context of Japan’s role in World War II in developing its military relationship with Tokyo.

Wang made the remarks to journalists during a joint briefing with visiting Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop.

“We hope that in military cooperation with Japan, Australia will take into full account this historical context and take into consideration also the feelings of Asian countries, because of that history,” Wang said. “We hope that Australia will take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of Japan and Japan’s efforts to uphold its pacifist constitution, and not the opposite.”

Australia this year is to pick the design for a new fleet of submarines in a deal worth as much as A$40 billion (US$28.51 billion).

Japan, which is offering a variant of its Soryu submarine, is competing against rival bids from Germany and France for the contract.

Washington is encouraging closer security cooperation between Japan and Australia.

Bishop arrived in Beijing on Tuesday after visiting Tokyo. Australia is seeking to deepen economic ties with China, its largest trading partner.

Bishop said a “comprehensive evaluation process” was underway about a submarine deal that would meet Australia’s capability and technological requirements.

“That is what will drive the competitive evaluation process that is currently underway,” she added.

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