Phillippines and Japan Announce Coast Guard Cooperation
The Philippines has denied that the summit between President Benito Aquino III and his Japanese host Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda was in reality a "shopping trip" for allies against China. This denial rings hollow.
The Philippines are embroiled with China in a territorial dispute over what Manila calls the West Philippines Sea and China refers to as the South China Sea. Both countries claim the Spratly Islands that may be rich in oil and gas deposits.
Japan has a similar territorial dispute with China as does Vietnam. The smaller countries are attempting to band together and bring in outside muscle in the form of the United States, India and Japan.
As a result of the current summit, Japan has committed to help the Philippines with its "Coast watch program that will upgrade the Philippines Coast Guard . Present Aquino thanked his hosts:
"I convey the Philippines' appreciation for Japan's capacity building assistance for the Philippine Coast Guard in terms of training and equipment, which boosts its ability to watch over our extensive coastlines.".
The cooperation will also include the dispatch of Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessels to the Philippines to help train the Philippines Navy vessels.
Prime Minister Noda told his guests "we share with the Philippines the basic sense of values as well as strategic interest."
The Japanese employ the term "shared values" to distinguish democratic countries from China which exhibits different values.
The Japanese Prime Minister also announced a deepening of military ties:
"We've agreed on frequent dialogue between top leaders and ministers, launch of vice-ministerial strategic talks, and strengthening of cooperation between maritime safety authorities and defense authorities."
The Philippines press claims that Japan, after the closure of its nuclear reactors, had become even more intent on ensuring free and safe passage in the West Philippines Sea for its oil supplies.
The Philippines do not believe that China should view the summit as a provocation because all countries in the region had an interest in a regional peaceful solution to the problem of free and safe passage in the seas.