Golez: "Duterte: PH to 'work closely' with Japan on sea disputes." But Japan works closely with the US on sea disputes. In fact, Japan and the US are more than ironclad allies and armed to the teeth to defend their mutual interests in the Pacific. In the world of diplomacy, bridges can be provided by a third party to ease the friction between two countries or even reconcile them. I am sure China is closely watching this development.
Duterte: PH to 'work closely' with Japan on sea disputes
(UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the Philippines would continue working with Japan to resolve sea disputes and other areas of mutual concern.
"The Philippines will continue to work closely with Japan on issues of common concern in the region and uphold shared values of democracy, adherence to the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes, including the South China Sea,” Duterte said after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.
Duterte's increasing shift to China, away from the United States, has prompted Japan to seek clarification. Manila and Tokyo are locked in separate disputes with Beijing in the South and East China Seas, respectively.
While not directly involved in the South China Sea dispute, Japan has sought to improve Manila’s maritime capability to counter Chinese aggression in the contested waters, as it views the unimpeded access to the maritime route vital to its economy.
“Maintaining open and stable seas is essential in the region. The two leaders shared the view that the South China Sea holds sea lanes vital for global economic activity and viability,” the two leaders’ joint statement read.
“In this regard, the two leaders stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as anti-piracy efforts and cooperation.”
Duterte also assured Japan that the Philippines would continue to acknowledge the importance of the arbitral tribunal’s ruling on the South China Sea.
The arbitral ruling, released in July, invalidated China’s sweeping historic claims to the contested waters.
China has refused to recognize the Philippines’ legal victory.
China and the Philippines, nonetheless, agreed to resume dialogue on their dispute following Duterte’s state visit to China last week which signaled a thaw in ties that have been strained by the sea row.
After expressing desire to forge closer ties with China, Duterte assured Japan that he would not enter into military deals with Beijing, and that he would also not abandon the Philippines’ partnership with Japan.
In Japan, Duterte did not pull punches against the US, a common ally with Japan, for its wartime abuses and alleged failure to fully deliver on their treaty alliance.
Duterte also called for an end to annual war games with US soldiers.
But hours after Duterte suggested to revise defense pacts with the US, his foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Manila has no reasons to end its agreements with Washington.
Amid Duterte’s cozying up to China and continued tirades against the US, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still welcomed the Filipino leader’s efforts to improve Philippines-China relations.