News / Asia

Philippines, Japan Pledge Cooperation in Face of China’s Growing Presence

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III shake hands after Abe presented him with a topographical map of the country's third largest island of Mindanao, July 27, 2013.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III shake hands after Abe presented him with a topographical map of the country's third largest island of Mindanao, July 27, 2013.
Simone Orendain
The Philippines and Japan are reaffirming their commitment to cooperate on maritime security issues at the same time China is increasing its presence in disputed Asian waters.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rounded out his three-country tour in Southeast Asia with a visit to the Philippines Saturday. Following talks in Malaysia and  Singapore, he met with President Benigno Aquino in Manila where the two had what he calls a “frank exchange” and “highly productive” meeting.

Speaking through an interpreter in the reception hall of the presidential palace, Abe said promoting maritime cooperation is one of four main areas that Japan is focused on in the two countries’ strategic partnership. “We confirmed continued assistance towards the capacity building of the Philippine Coast Guard and I have announced we will provide 10 vessels by Yen loan,” he said.

The Philippines is augmenting its tiny store of military hardware and the country has been anticipating additions to its patrol boat fleet. Philippine officials say the 10 vessels will be built in Japan to speed up delivery time. They hope to have the ships before the president’s term ends in 2016. The country is also in talks with Italy and South Korea to acquire more air- and sea-craft.

They say this is all toward building the country’s “minimum credible defense” especially in the South China Sea, where, in recent years, China has been visibly reasserting its claims to practically the entire body of water. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have partial or whole claims to the resource-rich sea.

For more than a year, Manila and China have been locked in a diplomatic dispute over Scarborough Shoal. More recently the Philippines says there were Chinese surveillance ships and a frigate in the vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal, another rocky outcropping that both countries claim. The Associated Press reported this week, the government spotted Chinese Coast Guard ships near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

President Aquino said the meeting with Abe reaffirmed their dedication to their strategic partnership. Aquino said the two countries pledged to continue to advocate for “responsible action from international players.”

“We believe that this can be done by upholding the rule of law in international affairs and by finding just and peaceful solutions to our territorial disputes and maritime concerns so that we may create a secure and stable environment that leads to our collective progress,” Aquino stated.

This week state-backed media in China reported Abe's visit to the Southeast Asian nations would fail to contain China. Reports carried warnings that Japan's shift toward military expansion and away from its peace constitution, which mandates a security force strictly for self-defense, could spark an "arms race in East Asia." China's state-run People's Daily had earlier reported the defense and foreign ministers warned Abe against what they called "blindly advocating confrontation."

Japan’s own dispute with China over a group of islands in the East China Sea flared up in September last year, raising an alert with the United States, its defense treaty ally. This week Japan scrambled jets to head-off a Chinese craft flying in international airspace very near the disputed isles.

At a news conference in Manila later, Abe said Japan’s relationship with China is “important” and he reiterated the need for high level dialogue between the two countries.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More