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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs