Japan, Philippines urge China to respect rule of law in disputed sea
Levi A. So (Philstar.com) - August 11, 2016 - 5:30pm
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida urged China to respect the rule of law and maritime security in disputed waters.
They made the statement on Thursday at a press briefing in Davao City amid recent news of China’s rapid construction of hangars to house fighter jets on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs, which are within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
The Japanese foreign minister said that maritime order based on rule of law is indispensable to regional security. He said the international community needs to work together and pursue a peaceful means to resolve conflict instead of force or coercion.
“We invoke and urge China to make sure that maritime security and the rule of law must completely and uncompromisingly be respected,” Yasay said.
“We have the same experience in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, for that matter, with respect to certain actions that uses force, intimidation and provocation in order to assert once claim over a particular territory.”
Tokyo earlier this week warned Beijing of fizzling ties as more Chinese vessels sail near disputed East China Sea islets called the Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.
Yasay noted that Japan was among the first nations to declare full support for the Philippine move toward a peaceful settlement of issues and the promotion of the rule of law.
"We are like-minded states and we share values like respect for the rule of law," he said.

Beefing up maritime security

Kishida is in the country for a three-day visit, from Aug. 10-12, which coincides with the 60 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines.
The two foreign ministers said they look forward to enhanced collaboration in areas of interest like culture, economy, disaster management, and international security, among others.
Kishida said the Japanese government would continue to provide support for the improvement of the Philippines’ maritime security capabilities.
The Philippines is expecting the arrival of one of the 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRV) financed by the Japanese official development assistance (ODA) on Aug. 18.
The vessels would enhance the Philippine Coast Guard’s surveillance and law enforcement capability in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines is also expecting support from Japan in improving infrastructure and agriculture in Mindanao. Yasay noted that Japan is one of the country’s top trade partners and provides the largest development assistance to the Philippines, amounting to 35 percent of the total ODA.
"We will be receiving soon from Japan two surveillance seacrafts. This month, in fact, we will be receiving fastcraft from Japan to secure maritime borders and this will also be followed up by two larger, cutter type vessels that will help us in our law enforcement capabilities," Yasay said.

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