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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pledges of Japan to ASEAN is Worth About $20 Billion

Japan pledged $20 Billion in aid and loans to South East Asia on Saturday the latest step in its bid to woo global public opinion in a territorial dispute with China. PM Abe offered the cash over 5 years for members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a celebratory summit to mark 40 years of ties with the bloc. The announcement crowns a year of courting by Abe who has visited all 10 countries in the grouping at least once since he came to power last year, always with one eye on wrestling back influence in the region from China. The case has taken on a greater urgency since China's declaration last month of an Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea.  Beijing said all aircraft entering the zone have to submit flight plans and obey orders issued by the Chinese authorities. Observers says Japan will find a reasonably willing audience among the 4 members of ASEAN who have their own territorial disputes with China namely Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.   
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