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Japan, Philippines Reaffirm Defense Ties

  • VOA News

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at the start of their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, June 24, 2014.

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at the start of their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, June 24, 2014.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to boost his country's military role abroad has received an endorsement from the Philippines.

The statement of support was delivered Tuesday at a meeting in Tokyo between Abe and Philippines President Benigno Aquino.

The meeting was seen as an expression of solidarity between Manila and Tokyo, which are both involved in territorial disputes with China.

Aquino said he welcomes a change to Japan's constitution if it would allow Tokyo to come to the aid of allies in the event of an attack.

"We therefore do not view with alarm any proposal to revisit the Japanese constitution if the Japanese people so desire, especially if this enhances Japan's ability to address its international obligations and brings us closer to the attainment of our shared goals of peace, stability and mutual prosperity," said Aquino.

Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party is trying to reinterpret the constitution to allow for what the prime minister calls "collective self-defense."

Beijing has angrily opposed the proposals, saying they represent an upsetting of the post-World War II order and will raise regional tensions.

Ties between Manila and Tokyo have drawn closer as their maritime disputes with an increasingly powerful Beijing become more heated.

Abe said Tuesday that both he and Aquino reaffirmed the importance of the rule of law in resolving the conflicts.

He also said that both countries are "closely coordinating with each other" as the regional situation becomes "increasingly severe."

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