MANILA--Visiting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Philippine President Benigno Aquino III during talks here July 27 that Japan would provide 10 cutters for its coast guard to help counter recent maritime advances by China.
The vessels are being provided as part of the government's official development assistance program.
With an eye on what China is doing in the region, the two leaders agreed to promote cooperation between the defense authorities and coast guards of their respective nations.
At a joint news conference following their meeting, Abe said, "We will strengthen our relationship as partners who share many strategic interests."
Aquino welcomed the provision of the cutters as a major pillar of the strategic partnership.
He pledged to maintain international rule of law and to resolve territorial disputes and maritime issues in a fair and peaceful manner.
The Philippines has a territorial dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China refers to the disputed land as Huangyan Island. Manila has submitted a request for arbitration to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, but China has not yet responded.
Japan also has a territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The Philippines asked for the cutters last December as a means of strengthening its coastal patrol activities.
A joint statement issued in April 2012 by Japan and the United States called for the strategic utilization of Japan's ODA through the provision of cutters to nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Japanese side was represented by the foreign and defense ministers. The U.S. was represented by the secretary of state and the defense chief.
The Philippines will be the first nation to receive the cutters under that program.
The Abe Cabinet will exclude the provision of the cutters from the government's three principles regarding the export of weapons.
In the meeting with Aquino, Abe also indicated that Japan would provide assistance for the construction of social infrastructure as well as accept nurses and elderly care workers from the Philippines.
Japanese officials also said they would support efforts to establish peace on Mindanao island, where armed conflict continues to rage, and would promote interaction between the peoples of the two nations by relaxing the conditions for issuing visas.
- « Prev
- Next »