Aquino sees stronger Japan as ‘counterweight’ to aggresive China



MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III has expressed the view that a stronger Japan would be a counterweight to the “threatening’’ presence of China in the West Philippine Sea, foreign affairs officials said on Thursday, at the close of a two-day visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Kishida paid a courtesy call on the President after meeting Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on the last of his two-day official visit to the Philippines aimed at boosting the countries’ strategic partnership in the face of China’s growing power in the region.

Briefing reporters later, Del Rosario said the President and Fushida talked about the “common challenges’’ that both countries have been facing vis-à-vis a more assertive China, and learning from strategies of either country, among a wide range of regional issues.

“I think there’s a mutual agreement that we should pursue peaceful resolution to these disputes and we’re trying to find out what the right formulation is,’’ he said in Malacañang.

“Well, I think what we agreed on is that we would keep on—because we do have this threat and this threat actually is shared by many countries not just with Japan—that we should continue to talk and see to what extent and cooperate in terms of coming to a peaceful resolution of the disputes,’’ he added.

While the Philippines is locked in a standoff with China over the West Philippine Sea, Japan and China are also disputing ownership of the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Taiwan also lays claim to the territory.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the West Philippine Sea, which is believed to sit atop vast amounts of oil and gas, aside from being one of the region’s most important fishing grounds and home to shipping lanes that are vital to global trade.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, and Taiwan claim parts of the sea.

Del Rosario indicated that Japan would be a natural strategic partner of the Philippines given the two countries’ shared values, interests and concerns.

“I think the reason we obviously have [become strategic partners] are common interests. We have common concerns, we have shared interests, and we have shared values. I think it is basically that which drove the spirit of putting us together as strategic partners,’’ he said.

Del Rosario said there was no discussion of the balance of power in the region during Kishida’s call, but believed that the President agreed that a stronger Japan would help foster stability in the Asia Pacific region.

“Well, I think the President is of the view that a stronger Japan, acting as a counterbalance in the region, would help promote stability for the Asia Pacific,’’ he said.

In the briefing, Del Rosario made repeated reference to the threats posed by Beijing, and ticked off three instances it had breached international laws.

“I think that, if you look at the posture of China in the South China Sea, their fixed posture is the foundation of their policy in those seas—that they have indisputable sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, OK?’’ he said.

“Now, this of course is an excessive claim. It’s in violation of international law—strike one, OK. Strike two, in order to be able to reinforce that, what they’ve done is that they have called for a reestablishment of an administrative unit to oversee the entire area which they consider as the nine-dash,’’ he said, referring to the administrative unit in Sansha City that has been exercising jurisdiction over Macclessfield Bank, Paracels and Spratly islands.

“So, first, they have an excessive claim; then they’re creating an administrative unit over those areas; and then they come up with this new law, which provides for enforcement in terms of interdiction of ships in those areas. So strike three already,’’ Del Rosario continued.

“And then, of course, they’re coming up with all kinds of infrastructure and releasing figures on budgets that they intend to use to be able to establish their presence there. So I think these are all very threatening and we have been protesting, as I said, these moves by China,’’ he added.

Macclesfield Bank is a huge underwater group of reefs and shoals located east of the Paracel Islands, southwest of the Pratas Islands and north of the Spratly Islands in the center of the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines claims Macclesfield Bank and administers it through the provincial government of Zambales.

Del Rosario said both Manila and Tokyo were aware of the magnitude of challenges they were facing against China’s power.

“I think we all understand that the assertions being made by China in terms of their nine-dash line claim, for example, they do pose threats to the stability of the region. We also need to be able to address the possibility that the freedom of navigation would be adversely impacted,’’ he said.

During Kishida’s visit, both countries agreed to bolster maritime cooperation, with Japan funding Philippine Coast Guard’s multi-role response vessels to police the country’s territorial waters, and the latter’s communication system for greater maritime safety, the Secretary said.

“We have these multi-role response vessels. Ten of them are being funded by Japan for our Coast Guard,’’ he said.

Kishida extended Japan’s invitation to President Aquino to attend the 40th anniversary of the Commemorative Asean Summit with Japan toward the end of the year, Del Rosario said.

“We’re still reviewing the schedule of travels for the President for 2013. But we believe that this is one of the events that we are recommending strongly,’’ he said.

The President took the opportunity to invite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a state visit, and followed up his earlier invitation to Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako for a visit, Del Rosario said.

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  • fay

    just remind everybody in case that you don’t know, Japan and China is also strategic relationships,called
    Japan-China Mutually Beneficial Strategic Relations.

    Japan and China can’t have a war, US will not allow it happen, world will not allow it happen, China will not allow it happen,Japan will not allow it happen.

    everybody knows it, even my five years old.

    • 我恨中国人

      It’s not very obvious you’re so scared of Japan you’re looking for some godforsaken treaty that prevents Japan from reinvading your godforsaken chinky land and reenact the massacre of Nanking.

      • fay

        I don’t want to argue with you, you just remind me one word: thug.

         My US friend will agree with me, you are a thug,
         My Japanese will agree with me: you are a thug,
         My Filipino friend will agree with me: you are a thug,
         My Chinese friend will agree with me: you are a thug.

      • 我恨中国人

        get the f off our country’s news website and post in your government-censored news sites.

      • Andrew Pc

        so you are against censorship,in support of media freedom, right ?…but, here amusingly you were trying so hard to slap your own face, why ?

      • Andrew Pc

        Careful, your beloved Japanese friend may not like what you got to say…you are backstabbing them by verifying the Nanking massacre that they so ferociously tried to deny…just like the 900 kindergarten children they were so happily taken as their live-target for bayonet practice at St. Paul University.

  • fay

    “The two sides recognized that the Japan-China relationship is one of
    the most important bilateral relationships for each of the countries
    and that Japan and China now have great influence on and bear a solemn
    responsibility for peace, stability, and development of the Asia-Pacific
    region and the world.”

    —Abe and Hu

    • 我恨中国人

      is this a sample of the Chinese propaganda fed to you everyday? In the Philippines if those lies are printed in our media, we demand the outright resignation of the writer.

      • Andrew Pc

        …Wow, no wonder Philippines paper is full of “phantom” stories….remember the “we were rammed by Chinese ship….no,no..Hong Kong registered ship….no,no..not sure ship from where….no,no..we are actually not so sure that we were rammed at all……”
        …Anyway, the good thing is Philippines paper get to be published news without field works, no fact clarification is necessarily, who need that anyway when the “not” brain-washed Philippines readers will just “excitedly” take them in  …quite a way to save overhead, isn’t it ?

      • fay

         the writer is Abe, write a letter to demand his resignation.

    • pfc_kulapu

      new account from old timer…
      ikaw ang isusunod ko……

      • fay

         hehehe, old bottle still smells great.

  • 我恨中国人

    It’s quite weird China is now not throwing tantrums like it used to. China is now more quiet in the Senkaku Islands – formerly it pretends to be brave by sending some antique plane into the Senaku Islands.
    Is it possible that it has come to the realization of the truth which they failed to see before because of their propaganda-laden mind?

    • Andrew Pc

      Very amusing indeed. 
      Apparently you are too busy posting here that you don’t have time to read the latest development ( i mean the one published outside of Philippines and of course by non-China source, better still your beloved Japanese media if you do understand Japanese).
      Do some homework otherwise it makes you look like a fool, indeed. LOL

  • truth_will_set_us_free


  • kimo211

    hanga  ako  sa  mga  comments  mo  purple daisy,,,it  all  make  sense,,,seems  to  be  accurate ang  research   mo,,,i   am  learning from  your  comments  negative  or  positive….matagal  na   akong  wala  sa  inang  bansa,,,,46  years…wala   na  akong  nabalitaan from  TFC  puro   negative  news  about   Pinas,,,especially  politicians…anyway,,,keep  it  up  ang  thanks   so   much  for  all  the  info  you   had been  provided…

  • kimo211

    my  humble  suggestion  ,,,Mr  president…na  humingi  ka  sa  kabalen  mong  former  president,,,mar   $3.5  million,,,,pala siyang  baryang  (IPON?),,,,pwede na  yon  isang  patrol boat  with  missile  launch  capability,,,puro  bantay  sa  japan  at  kapitbansa ,,,sa  pagasenso  nila ,,lalo  sa  pag upgrade  nang  kanilang  military  hardware…pakitoonan  naman  natin  ang  inang  bayan  (PINAS)  aasa  na  naman tayo  sa  ibang  lahi…hindi  pa po  kayo  ipinanganganak  ay  asa  ng asa  tayo  sa  iba,,,ngayon  naman  po  ay  sariling  gawa,,,…..huwag  lang  mangurakot  ang  mga politician  for  one  year…PINAS  na  ang  pinakamalkas na pwersa   sa  PACIFIC.  GOD help us…Amen.

  • Ben

    Japan, should help the Filipino institutions to upgrade their technology know how. Invite the DOST personnel, or the AFP and even those in the academe for a PHd or  Doctorate study of a technology useful for both Japan and the Philippine interest in the defense of the free world society. Japan should invite a Filipino to be part of an austronaut program in the space station in order that Filipino can jump start their love for science and development especially for the most impressionable youngsters to aim high and emulate the accomplishments of the lucky Filipino to reach the space station. This will help jump start the science education in the country for the country`s advancement and breakthrough in the sciences….rather than the breakthrough of a Filipino in a boxing match, the whole society of Filipinos should be mesmirized by a space craft carrying a Filipino scientist.

    • fay

       You surprised me. Japan has space station ? shocking news.

      • Andrew Pc

        and very amusing as well

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