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Japan, Philippines affirm closer security ties amid China threats

Tue, 24th Jun 2014 10:13

Tokyo (Alliance News) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Tuesday to bolster security cooperation amid China's increasing assertiveness in the East and South China seas.

The two leaders vowed in Tokyo to promote the rule of law to ensure maritime security amid China's military buildup and expansion of activities in the region, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing a Japanese government official.

Aquino thanked Abefor backing Manila's efforts to seek a peaceful solution to its territorial spats with Beijing and other neighbouring countries in the South China Sea, Kyodo said.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said last week that Manila would ask an international arbitration tribunal to deliver a speedy ruling on its dispute with China.

Beijing has refused to take part in the arbitration process, insisting instead on bilateral negotiations.

Japan is also involved in a territorial dispute with China over a group of islets in the East China Sea. The Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where the islets are known as Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.

On Tuesday, Aquino voiced support for Abe's push to change Japan's interpretation of its pacifist constitution, to allow the Japanese military to exercise the right to collective self-defence.

Article 9 of the constitution prohibits the use of force to settle international disputes.

"We believe that nations of goodwill can only benefit if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others, and is allowed to come to the aide of those in need, especially in the area of collective self-defence," Aquino told a joint news conference.

Copyright dpa

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