Japan and EU sign partnership deal to outdo China's Belt and Road
THE European Union (EU) and Japan have signed a deal to build infrastructure and set development standards in joint projects around the world, in a move to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The agreement was signed last week in Brussels by Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, and Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, said the Financial Times.
The partnership will cover sectors from transport to digital industries as part of a wider effort to revive multilateral cooperation in the face of the US withdrawal from international agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate change accord.
It dovetails with EU plans to deploy EUR60 billion (US$65.9 billion) to leverage investments of many times that value to improve ties between Europe and Asia.
Mr Abe called the growing co-operation between Brussels and Tokyo, which includes economic and strategic partnerships, a "resounding declaration" at a time when "the values and principles we have held dear could waver or drift".
Speaking at an event to mark the signing, Mr Abe said: "Whether it be a single road or a single port, when the EU and Japan undertake something, we are able to build sustainable, rules-based connectivity from the Indo-Pacific to the Western Balkans and Africa."