Japan’s prime minister today quoted former British leader Margaret Thatcher over the importance of sea power as tensions with China mounted over a set of tiny islands. Shinzo Abe used the former Prime Minister’s defiant words on the 1982 Falklands war with Argentina to stress the importance of the rule of law at sea.
Mr Abe, whose country is embroiled in a row with China over the disputed territory, said: ‘Our national interests have been immutable.
‘They lie in making the seas, which are the foundation of our nation’s existence, completely open, free and peaceful.’
In a wide-ranging policy speech to parliament he also urged Japan to seek to become ‘No.1′ as an economic power.
Mr Abe went on to quote a remark from Thatcher’s memoirs, reflecting on the Falklands war, in which she said Britain was defending the fundamental principle that international law should prevail over the use of force.
The war over the remote South Atlantic archipelago began when Argentine troops landed on the Falkland islands on April 2, 1982.
It ended 74 days later with their surrender. The conflict killed about 650 Argentine and 255 British troops.
Continuing in his own words, Mr Abe said: ‘The rule of law at sea. I want to appeal to international society that in modern times changes to the status quo by the use of force will justify nothing.’