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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.