Japan-Philippines Summit Meeting Agree on Maritime Security Cooperation

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino agreed in a meeting Tuesday that the two countries will boost cooperation in maritime security.

Japan and the Philippines, which both want to secure safety of South China Sea lanes, will enhance ties between their coast guard and defense officials in view of China's accelerating moves to expand its maritime military presence.

The Philippines is locked in a maritime dispute with China over a chain of islands in the South China Sea known as the Spratly Islands. Japan is also at odds with Beijing over China's claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

After the meeting at the prime minister's official residence, Noda and Aquino signed a joint statement, in which they agreed that ''freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and compliance with established international law...and the peaceful settlement of disputes'' benefit their countries and the whole region.

Noda promised to continue Japan's official development aid to the Philippines, and on the occasion of Aquino's visit, Japan signed a separate document with the Philippines to extend about 9.2 billion yen in loans to implement forest management projects to address disaster management and climate change.

Aquino, who met with leaders of Japan's business sector during his four-day visit from Sunday, is in Japan as president for the third time. His previous visit was in August when he held a secret meeting outside Tokyo with Philippine Muslim rebel leaders, according to Kyodo news.

This is the official statement issued by Japan's Foreign Ministry on the summit:

On Tuesday, September 27, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda held a summit meeting at the Prime Minister's Office with H.E. Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines for about 45 minutes from 6 p.m. The overview is as follows. (Attending on the Philippines side were the Hon. Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Manuel M. Lopez, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Japan; the Hon. Manuel A. Roxas II, Secretary of Transportation and Communication, President, Liberal Party of the Philippines; the Hon. Cesar V. Purisima, Secretary of Finance; and the Hon. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry. Attending on the Japan side were Mr. Hiroyuki Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr. Akihisa Nagashima, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. Izumi Yoshida, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance; and Mr. Toshinao Urabe, Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines; among others.)

After the summit meeting, the two leaders signed the "Japan-Philippines Joint Statement on the Comprehensive Promotion of the 'Strategic Partnership' between Neighboring Countries Connected by Special Bonds of Friendship". Furthermore, in the presence of the two leaders, Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario signed a yen loan agreement for the "Forestland Management Project". In addition, for about one hour and ten minutes from 7 p.m., a dinner was hosted by Prime Minister Noda that included Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba as well.

1. At the start of the summit meeting, Prime Minister Noda expressed his gratitude for the assistance extended by the Government of the Philippines and its people in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and for the visit by President Aquino to a disaster-affected area (Ishinomaki City) on September 26. In response, President Aquino expressed his condolences to the victims of the earthquake and their families. He also stated his confidence that Japan would recover soon.

2. Concerning bilateral relations, both leaders confirmed that the both countries share basic values, market economy, and strategic interests and that they position the relations between the two countries as "strategic partnership".

1) In the economic field, Prime Minister Noda stated that Japan would continue to contribute to the economic development of the Republic of the Philippines through the improvement of infrastructure and the investment environment. President Aquino affirmed his strong commitment to improving the business environment. The two leaders welcomed the smooth implementation and operation of the Agreement between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines for an Economic Partnership (JPEPA) and decided to continue consultations in order to further improve the acceptance of candidates for qualified nurses and certified careworkers. President Aquino expressed his gratitude for the assistance that Japan has extended to the Republic of the Philippines, to which Prime Minister Noda replied that Japan would continue its assistance to the Republic of the Philippines as an important ODA target country.

2) In terms of the political and security fields, the two leaders decided to frequently hold summit/ministerial meetings, convene multi-layered policy dialogues, including Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue which was decided to establish, and strengthen exchange and cooperation between maritime safety authorities and defense authorities. Prime Minister Noda stated his wish to continue active support for peace in Mindanao. President Aquino expressed his appreciation for Japan's contributions so far and expressed his strong commitment to the achievement of peace.

3) Concerning people-to-people exchange, the two leaders confirmed the importance of youth exchanges, with Prime Minister Noda stating that Japan would invite 400 Filipino college students to Japan next year as "Philippine-Tohoku Goodwill Ambassadors".

3. Regarding regional and international issues, the two leaders confirmed that they would actively contribute to regional cooperation frameworks, and confirmed that they would closely collaborate with each other especially in the run-up to the East Asia Summit in November. The two leaders also had an exchange of views on issues faced by the region and the international community such as the South China Sea and North Korea, in which they shared the recognition that the abduction issue by North Korea is a serious violation of human rights.

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