- Title: PHILIPPINES: Japan and Philippines vow stronger defence ties
- Date: 10th January 2013
- Summary: MANILA, PHILIPPINES (JANUARY 10, 2013) (REUTERS) VEHICLE CARRYING JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER FUMIO KISHIDA ARRIVING KISHIDA WALKING TO GREET PHILIPPINE FOREIGN MINISTER ALBERT DEL ROSARIO BAMBOO INSTRUMENTS BAND PERFORMING DEL ROSARIO AND KISHIDA WATCHING DEL ROSARIO TALKING TO KISHIDA BAND PLAYING INSTRUMENTS VARIOUS OF DEL ROSARIO AND KISHIDA APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 25th January 2013 12:00
- Location: Philippines
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: Conflict,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAF4ZVU5JJ4B72BG2PYDXJI7MB3
- Story Text: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida kicked off his Asia-Pacific tour in the Philippines on Thursday (January 10) in his first overseas visit since taking office last month.
He met with his Philippine counterpart Albert del Rosario, reaffirming Japan's commitment to economic development in the Philippines and enhancement of maritime cooperation.
Kishida said North Korea, which successfully launched a missile last December despite warnings from the international community, would be discussed in bilateral talks.
"So we'll be discussing international issues in the lunch, in which I'd like to address how to deal with nuclear and missile development by North Korea and also the importance of resolving the abduction issue in this country," Kishida said.
Both the Philippines and Japan are also involved in territorial spats with China, which are potential flashpoints in regional security.
Japan's relations with China took a dive last September after a flare up in a long-standing territorial dispute over islets claimed by both countries in the East China Sea, called Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China.
Manila has filed protests against what it considers incursions by Chinese ships over a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, most of which Beijing claims. Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also have competing territorial claims with China.
Kishida said Manila and Tokyo would enhance maritime cooperation, but did not mention China's expanding military presence in the region.
The Philippines is negotiating to acquire 10 brand new Coast Guard ships from Japan, through a 7.7 billion peso (189 million U.S. dollars) loan, to boost its maritime patrolling capabilities.
"The acquisition of multi-role response vessels is undergoing serious consideration. There is also regular exchange of views and dialogue between officials of the two countries in maritime and ocean affairs," del Rosario said.
Japan is the Philippines' top trading partner with total trade exceeding 13 billion U.S. dollars last year, and the Philippines' number one export market in 2012.
Japan is also funding key development projects and monitors a ceasefire in Mindanao, where a roadmap has recently been signed between the government and the country's largest Muslim rebel group.
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