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Philippine president backs Japan’s larger military role
Publication Date : 24-06-2014
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday expressed support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s military role amid China’s more aggressive posture in Asia’s disputed waters.
Aquino said in Tokyo that the Philippines believed it would be beneficial if Japan would be able to come to the assistance of allies under attack.
“We believe that nations of goodwill can only benefit if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and is allowed wherewithal to come to the aid of those in need especially in the area of collective self defence,” Aquino said in a brief statement following his summit meeting with Abe.
“We therefore do not view with alarm any proposal to revisit the Japanese Constitution if the Japanese people so desire, especially if this enhances Japan’s ability to address the international obligations and brings us closer to the attainment of our shared goals of peace, stability, and mutual prosperity,” Aquino said.
Abe’s ruling party is in the midst of tough negotiations with its coalition partner over Abe’s proposal to reinterpret the Japanese constitution to allow what is known as collective self-defence. The Japanese military can currently only use force to defend Japan.
Aquino’s support comes as Japan and the Philippines deepen security ties in the face of China’s military expansion and territorial disputes both countries have with China in the South and East China seas.
During the joint press conference, Aquino said there woul be no progress for the Philippines and Japan without regional stability.
Aquino said both countries “share the view that prosperity and development cannot exist in a vacuum; that advancement of our peoples and our region can only be fully realised in a context that fosters stability.”
He pointed out that Japan was a strategic partner of the Philippines and that it was important for them to “jointly face the changing dynamics of our regional security environment.”
The Philippine leader said advancing the rules of law to protect global and regional common interests were among the important topics that he would discuss with the prime minister.
Japan was one of the two countries that the Philippines has a strategic partnership with, the other being Australia. The strategic partnership is meant to elevate security cooperation among countries.
Analysts believe the Philippines is seeking partnerships with strong nations in the Pacific to counter China’s clout in the region.