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PH, Japan boost defense ‘partnership’ amid sea row with China


Visiting Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, left, and his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin pose for the media following their joint news conference at Camp Aguinaldo at suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines Thursday June 27, 2013. In a joint news conference with Philippine counterpart Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Onodera said Japan supports the peaceful resolution of the current row between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines – Japan and Philippines, who both share a rival claimant in China, stepped up their “strategic partnership” in the field of defense, particularly in maritime affairs, after defense ministers of both countries met at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.

Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin met at the Department of National Defense Headquarters for more than an hour, where they discussed the strengthening of defense cooperation and issues they were both facing.

The strengthening of maritime cooperation of both countries will include reciprocal visits between the Chief of Staff Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy; holding of maritime chief of staff meetings; and port calls by JMSDF vessels in the Philippines.

The partnership between the two countries will be given a boost through capacity building, especially in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, as well as cooperation in the field of flight safety, air rescue, and aviation medicine between Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and Philippine Air Force; holding of high-level and working level meetings; increase of information, education and training exchange; and exploration of the possibility of convening a vice-ministerial meeting.

Onodera emphasized that they were “very concerned” with the Philippines’ situation in West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and supported its position that the territorial dispute may be solved through international arbitration and not through the use of force.

“During the meeting I have talked with Secretary Gazmin about the situation and shared information regarding South China Sea, which is very similar situation which is seen in East China Sea, for Japan, and Japan side, I said that Japan side is very concerned that this kind of situation in South China Sea could affect the situation in East China Sea that includes Japan, and I have heard from Secretary Gazmin about the various activities taken by the Philippine armed forces in this matter and i have told him that Japan side will cooperate with Philippine side in this matter, and i have also learned about the Philippines efforts for the United Nations arbitration process in the principle that the Philippine side seeks to solve this problem based on the rule of law and I have told that the Japan side is totally supporting this kind of efforts to resolve this problem,” he told reporters through a translator in an interview after the meeting.

Japan and China are also engaged in a dispute over an uninhabited, energy-rich island chain, known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu in the East China Sea.

“I also like to emphasize here that the current situation should not be changed with the use of force, but should be done through the rule of law and I think this is the concept that is agreed upon in international community these days,” Onodera said.

Meanwhile, Gazmin also acknowledged Japan’s support of solving the territorial disputes through peaceful means.

“We are very happy to note that the Japanese government is supportive of our peaceful resolution of the case through the arbitration and we have agreed to continue our exchanges of information, exchanges of technology, to help each other, come up with, make the defense relations,” he told reporters.

Onodera clarified that they were “not aiming at protecting from any specific nation,” but emphasized their stance of [keeping out] their “territorial space, territorial air and sea space well protected… according to the rule of law.”

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Tags: Defense , Diplomacy , Foreign Affairs and International relations , Japan , Philippines , territorial disputes , West Philippine Sea

  • Fulpol

    kawawang Pilipinas.. pagpraktisan lang ng China.. at manonood lang ang Japan at US para pag-aralan ang strength at weakness ng China military..

    • ealicer

      As far as I can remember na una na ng napag praktisan ng Pilipinas ang China thru to it’s puppet which is Taiwan. And China couldn’t do anything. LOL!

      • Fulpol

        isang Taiwanese fisherman ang namatay pero kapalit ng ano?? Pilipinas ang talo hindi ang Taiwan..

    • tonygadoy

      Haay. Mongoloid talaga yang utak mo.

      • bangopuwet

        Kaya nga pulpol ang utak nitong si Fulpol. When the US bases were here, China never had a heart to take over the islets around the Phil. but when the Americans left, you know what happened. The rightist groups like Bayad Muna, Gabriela, KMU, etc. are paid hackeys of China and they pay respect to them and consider China as their mother country and not the Phil. Mga komunista itong mga ito kaya wala kang makita o mabasang nagpoprotesta sila laban sa China kundi laging laban sa US. If not for those so called nationalistic Senators who ousted the Bases in 1992, we would not be harassed and threatened by the Chinese.

      • Fulpol

        mismong Mt Pinatubo ang nagpaalis sa mga Amerikano…

  • $44479964

    As a gesture of good will, can we have now the 10 patrol boats you promised to us?

    • superpilipinas

      was planned for 2014 delivery. can’t build and configure new ships within a year.

  • Fulpol

    kawawang Pilipinas.. magiging “pawn” lang… sacrificial lamb..

    • Jan

      in chess game, pawn becomes queen…


    YOUR friend’s enemy is your enemy; your enemy’s enemy is your friend. So it is with Japan and China.

  • Dayunyor Binay


  • superpilipinas

    This is one of the ideas I had been pushing for since the start of the issue 2 years ago. Now it seems to be turning to reality.

    The first indication that this is for real and not only posturing would be the arrival of the 10 donated ships. But even before that, the best next step would be to send the best of the best Philippines Navy personnel (each of them thoroughly background checked and competence tested) to train in Japan Navy ships off Senkaku to acquire expertise and experience. Once we got the 10 patrol ships, we should also get Japan Navy trainers in our ships in the first few years.

    As we see the progress with Japan, we must start to get India and Vietnam into the alliance. And as we are doing that, use the allocated budget to procure from EU and Canada some of the needed military hardware as a short term measure. The rest of the hardware should be jointly built by the alliance of PH, JPN, India, and Vietnam as a long term venture. These will create lots of local jobs.

    Simultaneously, the alliance should also focus on exclusive preferred trade partnership. The progress will soon invite other countries to join a successful and strongly united alliance. Finally, China will see the merit of multilateral cooperation instead of bullying or divide and conquer tactics.

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