Japan

Japan proposes cooperation with ASEAN to tackle plastic debris

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Japan on Thursday offered to cooperate with other Asian countries to address ocean pollution by reducing plastic debris.

Japan, together with China and South Korea, will assist the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in enhancing their monitoring of plastic waste and assessing the impact on the marine ecosystem through research, according to an action plan presented at their leaders' summit.

Large amounts of marine plastic waste have become a serious global issue. Small plastic debris is hard to retrieve and the full impact of it on the environment has yet to be fully determined.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the importance of unity among the ASEAN plus three group so "strong momentum" will be generated to resolve global challenges.

The leaders also discussed regional issues such as North Korean denuclearization in Singapore, where U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a historic meeting in mid-June.

The U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks have produced few tangible results so far despite initial hopes.

Abe called on his Asian counterparts to fully implement U.N. sanctions against North Korea to achieve a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Abe expressed his intention to meet with Kim to resolve the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The 10 ASEAN countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore which holds the rotating ASEAN chairmanship, said the region is in an "unpredictable strategic landscape."

"Major power rivalry is on the rise, manifesting itself in competing visions for the regional architecture and in a growing trade war," Lee said at the summit.

© KYODO

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