Japan vows to beef up PH maritime security capabilities

Kishida YasayMetro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday said in light of a decision of an arbitral tribunal at The Hague regarding the South China Sea dispute, Japan would actively participate in preserving harmony and stability in the region.

“We will be contributing to the regional peace, stability, and prosperity,” a Japanese translator said, quoting Kishida.

Kishida said Japan would continue providing patrol vessels to Philippines.

He added, Japan would help enhance the Philippines Coast Guard's (PCG) facilities, particularly its surveillance capability.

“Japan will continue to provide support for the improvement of maritime capabilities of the Philippines,” Kishida said. “We are prepared to work closely with the Philippines.”

Kishida is in the Philippines for a three-day visit.  He is expected to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte and discuss issues on South China Sea — which Kishida described as a matter of “mutual interest.”

The leaders are also expected to tackle political and business issues, infrastructure and agriculture projects, among others.

“I very much hope that my visit to my PH will further enhance the momentum between two countries,” Kishida said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the Philippines and Japan should continue conducting the tradition of high-level exchanges.

Yasay stressed, the Philippine government was elated over Japan's promise.

“We’re happy that Japan offered to beef up our security capabilities,” Yasay said.

Aside from maritime security assistance, Yasay said Japan has also pledged to aid government projects in Mindanao.

Rule of law must prevail

During a media briefing, Yasay and Kishida agreed that the rule of law must prevail to peacefully resolve the maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

Kishida pointed out the importance of submitting to the “rule of law” when it comes to resolving issues like that of the disputed islands in South China Sea.

“Maritime order based on rule of law is indispensable to maintain order and stability,” Kishida said.

Kishida also highlighted the importance of resolving the issue through peaceful means.

“In the pursuit of the solution to the conflict, it is important to base ourselves to the rule of law and resolve to peaceful means and not through coercion,” said Kishida.

Yasay said he agree with Kishida that the rule of law must be respected and upheld by everyone in “the strongest manner.”

He said coercion would not be the kind of action “that is mandated by the international law.”

Kishida enjoined the international community to work closely, in maintaining peace in the Asian region.

Yasay said the Philippines is united with the international community when it comes to pursuing peaceful resolution of issues in the South China Sea.

Source: CNN