PH, Japan ink military aid agreement | Global News

PH, Japan ink military aid agreement

/ 12:56 AM November 18, 2015

AMID rising tensions in the South China Sea, the Philippines and Japan are working on the legal arrangement for the implementation of a defense cooperation agreement between the two countries, a Japanese official said Tuesday.

The two countries signed the agreement in June this year during the state visit of President Aquino to Japan, allowing the sale and transfer of sophisticated Japanese military hardware and technology to the Philippines.


“We are working very hard to do a follow-up of the agreement. We still need to do our homework,” Koichi Mizushima, spokesperson of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida discussed on Monday, on the sidelines of the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, bilateral economic and security issues.


A bilateral meeting between President Aquino and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to take place on Thursday.

A legal arrangement is now in the works which will lay down rules on the sale and transfer of technologies, Mizushima said.

“Generally speaking, once Japan provides some equipment to a certain country, that country, for example the Philippines cannot transfer that to another country,” he said.

Referring to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Mizushima said: “China has been conducting large-scale reclamation works and building military facilities. Even if China was saying, ‘Oh, we will stop here.’ We cannot accept the accomplished fact. They have already changed the status quo.”


Japan held a positive view of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China’s nine-dash line claim, which encompasses almost the entire South China Sea.

“Any dispute should be resolved in a peaceful manner. In the sense, what the Philippine government has done in terms of bringing the issue to international arbitral court is a similar idea,” Mizushima said, echoing Abe’s position.

Abe said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last year that any claims should be based on international law and no country should resort to force or coercion.


Japan has been locked in a territorial dispute with China over a group of islands in the East China Sea.

Mizushima said Japan would serve as an observer during the oral hearings on the merits set by the UN arbitral tribunal based in the Hague on Nov. 24-30.

“The South China Sea is an important sea lane for Japan,” he said. “This area should be secure and peaceful.”


No sea patrols for Japan

While Japan has taken an interest in helping boost the military capability of the Philippines, it chose not to join the United States in its sea patrols as a demonstration of support for freedom of navigation in the Chinese-occupied waters.

“We have no plan in joining the operations,” Mizushima said.

He clarified that the recent passage of Japan’s security bill did not allow the Japanese forces to engage in military operations overseas.

“The passage of the security bill does not mean we are going to be engaged in the military operations overseas. That does not changed at all the position of the Japanese as peace loving people,” he said.

But he added, “It is important for countries like the Philippines to build their capacity to defend themselves and to contribute to peace and stability in the region.”

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TAGS: Apec 2015, Features, Global Nation, Japan, military pact, South China Sea
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