PH, Japan Leaders Vowed to Heighten Maritime Security, Tighten Economic Ties

PH, Japan Leaders Vowed to Heighten Maritime Security, Tighten Economic Ties


On October 26, Wednesday, Japan agrees to help the Philippines acquire new vessels to guarantee maritime security and safety in the region.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a joint statement released in Tokyo, “maintaining open and stable seas is essential in the region,” and emphasized the importance of a “rules-based approach to the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes without resorting to the threat or use of force.”

The Philippines has the Japanese commitment to help boost maritime security as President Duterte is in Japan for his official visit, which began on Tuesday, October 25.

In a joint statement said, “The two leaders emphasized the need to ensure maritime safety and security which are vital elements for the peace, stability and continued prosperity of both countries and of the region.”

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will be assigned for the training of aircraft TC-90s and also, Japan will issue official development assistance to grant the Philippines in obtaining large-scale patrol vessels.

“To enhance the Philippines’ anti-terrorism capabilities,” Japan intends to give high-speed boats and other equipment, as stated in the joint statement.

The two countries also agreed to settle regional maritime disputes within the ambit of international law and to help keep the South China Sea available for navigation and overflight.

In accordance to Beijing’s refusal to acknowledge the international arbitration ruling in favor to the Philippines over China in the South China Sea dispute, the statement cited the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The joint statement said, “the two leaders emphasized the importance of self-restraint and non-militarization,” referring to the China’s reclamation projects in the Kalayaan (Spratly) islands declared illegal by the arbitration ruling held last July.

President Duterte spoke before the Japanese businessmen saying that he did not enter into a military alliance with China when he visited the country last week as Japan also has a separate maritime dispute with Beijing.

As he spoke, “I went to China for a visit and I would like to assure you that what all there was was economics. We did not talk about arms, we did not talk about the stationing of troops … we avoided talking about alliances, military or otherwise.”

Tighten Economic Ties

President Duterte pursued Japanese investors at the Philippine Economic Forum held in Tokyo as he guarantees to tighten economic ties between Philippines and Japan.

The president added that he intends to heighten infrastructure and rural development and promote the expansion of the small and medium businesses.

As he spoke, “I wish to underscore that stronger economic ties with Japan has been and will continue to be a priority for the Philippines as we celebrate the 60th year of our bilateral relations.”

He added, “We look to Japan as a steady fulcrum in our regional engagements as the Philippines’ first and only bilateral free-trade partner to date,” concerning the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement signed by Manila and Tokyo in 2006.

The president stated, “We count on Japan to further extend its valuable support in our pursuits for promoting rural development, increasing agriculture productivity, accelerating infrastructure spending and investing in human capital development.”

“An environment conducive to business,” was also mentioned by the president as he disclosed that his government is working on it.

He said, “We are putting in place policies aimed at ensuring stability in the macroeconomic policies, increasing competitiveness, improving ease of doing business, increasing spending in crucial infrastructure and investing further in the human capital development.”

President Duterte also mentioned Mindanao as it needs to decentralize growth through agriculture development, particularly in the rural areas. He added that Mindanao is the country’s top agricultural exports such as bananas, pineapples, coconuts, and tuna.

He said, “In this light, we appreciate Japan’s role in the peace-building efforts in Mindanao that is geared towards the attainment of a more peaceful life for our country and the ending of the vicious cycle of poverty and conflict.”

News Source: The Manila Times

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