Philippine, Japanese leaders sign military, economic deals

Associated Press  via Inquirer October 26, 2016

(UPDATE) TOKYO (AP) — The leaders of Japan and the Philippines agreed Wednesday to cooperate in promoting regional peace and stability, and acknowledged the importance of their alliances with the US, although a joint statement focused largely on Japan’s contribution to Philippine maritime security and other projects totaling a 21 billion yen ($210 million) loan.

In a news conference, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after his first round of talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he expected Japan to continue being an important part of maritime security in the region, including the South China Sea, where Manila and Beijing have overlapping claims.

There, they did not mention their security alliances with the US. But in a statement issued later, the two sides acknowledged the importance of “their network of friendship and alliances,” particularly one between them. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda told reporters that their alliances with the US were recognized, though not in writing.

Duterete, in his second round of talks only among close aides, reassured Abe that he had no intention of severing diplomatic ties with the US, Hagiuda said.

Since Duterte took office in June, Manila’s relationship with Washington has quickly become strained.Japan is a staunch US ally and hosts 50,000 American troops, while Duterte has repeatedly spoken of distancing his country from Washington, often in crude terms.

Japan is a staunch US ally and hosts 50,000 American troops, while Duterte has repeatedly spoken of distancing his country from Washington, often in crude terms.The presence of US troops in five Philippine military camps was established under a security deal signed under Duterte’s predecessor as a counter to China’s growing military assertiveness in the region.

The presence of US troops in five Philippine military camps was established under a security deal signed under Duterte’s predecessor as a counter to China’s growing military assertiveness in the region.Earlier Wednesday, Duterte said that he wants his country to be free of foreign troops, possibly within two years. “I want them out,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, Duterte said that he wants his country to be free of foreign troops, possibly within two years. “I want them out,” he said.“I want to be friends to China,” he told an audience of businesspeople in Tokyo. “I do not need the arms. I do not want missiles established in my country. I do not need to have the airports to host the bombers.”

“I want to be friends to China,” he told an audience of businesspeople in Tokyo. “I do not need the arms. I do not want missiles established in my country. I do not need to have the airports to host the bombers.”As president, Duterte has reached out to Beijing while criticizing US foreign policy. His approach has caused consternation in both the US and Japan.

As president, Duterte has reached out to Beijing while criticizing US foreign policy. His approach has caused consternation in both the US and Japan.Still, Abe welcomed Duterte’s recent efforts to improve ties with China.

Still, Abe welcomed Duterte’s recent efforts to improve ties with China.“The South China Sea issue is directly linked to the region’s peace and stability and a matter of interest for the entire international society,” he said. “In that regard, Japan welcomes the effort of President Duterte visiting China and endeavoring to improve the Philippine-China relations.”

“The South China Sea issue is directly linked to the region’s peace and stability and a matter of interest for the entire international society,” he said. “In that regard, Japan welcomes the effort of President Duterte visiting China and endeavoring to improve the Philippine-China relations.”Officials declined to provide details of their second round of talks, in which Abe was expected to ask Duterte specifically about his foreign policy.

Officials declined to provide details of their second round of talks, in which Abe was expected to ask Duterte specifically about his foreign policy. Read more…

 

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