Philip­pines and Ja­pan ought to co­op­er­ate for peace, pros­per­ity

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

To pre­serve the sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity of Asia, the re­la­tion­ship of “strate­gic part­ner­ship co­op­er­a­tion” should be en­hanced be­tween Ja­pan and the Philip­pines.

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino has made a state visit to Ja­pan, hav­ing sum­mit talks with Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe on Thurs­day. The two lead­ers agreed to fur­ther strengthen bi­lat­eral se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion and start ne­go­ti­a­tions to con­clude an ac­cord on the trans­fer of Ja­pan’s de­fense equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy to the Philip­pines. Ja­pan is also poised to speed up the process of pro­vid­ing the Philip­pine Coast Guard with 10 pa­trol ves­sels.

Re­gard­ing China’s recla­ma­tion ac­tiv­i­ties of rock reefs in the South China Sea, a joint dec­la­ra­tion was is­sued at the close of the Abe-Aquino talks, stat­ing the two coun­tries “share se­ri­ous con­cern on uni­lat­eral ac­tions to change the sta­tus quo.”

To place a curb on Bei­jing’s sel­f­righ­teous ac­tions, it is ur­gently needed for all Southeast Asian coun­tries con­cerned to im­prove their mar­itime se­cu­rity ca­pa­bil­i­ties to step up warn­ing and sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties.

In late May, the gov­ern­ment agreed with Malaysia to launch ne­go­ti­a­tions for the trans­fer of de­fense equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy. While closely work­ing with the United States, it is im­por­tant for Ja­pan to fa­cil­i­tate joint train­ing and ex­er­cises as well as de­fense in­for­ma­tion ex­changes with the mil­i­tary of other coun­tries con­cerned.

In the eco­nomic sphere, the two lead­ers reached an agree­ment on co­op­er­a­tion for the Philip­pines’ trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment, in­clud­ing a project worth 300 bil­lion yen to con­struct a com­muter rail­way net­work in the metropoli­tan area of Manila.

Ja­pan is the Philip­pines’ largest trad­ing part­ner. Ja­pan is also the only coun­try with which the Philip­pines has con­cluded an Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment. Co­op­er­a­tion with the Philip­pines, which has high growth po­ten­tial and a large work­force, can bring about plenty of ad­van­tages for Ja­pan. Tokyo should ex­pand eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with Manila, in­clud­ing ties through

pri­vate-sec­tor en­ter­prises.

Good Ex­am­ple of Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

In World War II, the Philip­pines was one of the fiercest bat­tle­fields. The war in the Philip­pines is said to have claimed the lives of about 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple. The lat­est joint dec­la­ra­tion em­pha­sized that the two coun­tries have at­tained a “re­mark­able achieve­ment in over­com­ing is­sues of the past,” and have “suc­cess­fully con­structed one of the strong­est re­la­tion­ships in Asia.” This can be said to be a mon­u­men­tally im­por­tant ex­am­ple of post­war “rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.”

In ref­er­ence to Ja­pan’s post­war in­flu­ence in his speech be­fore the House of Coun­cil­lors on Wed­nes­day, Aquino said: “For over two gen­er­a­tions, Ja­pan’s com­mit­ment to peace has been be­yond ques­tion. So has its com­mit­ment ... to cre­at­ing a more eq­ui­tably pro­gres­sive world or­der.”

Dur­ing a state ban­quet on Wed­nes­day at the Im­pe­rial Palace, Aquino said, “The pain and tragedy of the past have been healed by Ja­pan’s com­mit­ment to a re­la­tion­ship based on mu­tual re­spect, dig­nity and sol­i­dar­ity.”

Ja­pan has so far ex­tended a to­tal of about 3 tril­lion yen in of­fi­cial devel­op­ment as­sis­tance to the Philip­pines and has dis­patched more than 1,500 Ja­pan Over­seas Co­op­er­a­tion Vol­un­teers there in to­tal. Both the ODA and JOCV ac­tiv­i­ties have sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to the Philip­pines’ re­cov­ery from the war and to sub­se­quent devel­op­ment.

It may safely be said that Ja­pan’s pos­ture to re­spect the in­de­pen­dent judg­ment of an aid re­cip­i­ent coun­try and seek estab­lish­ment of a frame­work of co­op­er­a­tion on an equal foot­ing has suc­ceeded thanks to the gen­eros­ity of spirit of the Philip­pines’ gov­ern­ment and peo­ple.

Aquino has eval­u­ated highly and ex­pressed his sup­port for the Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion’s se­cu­rity-re­lated pack­age of bills now be­ing de­lib­er­ated on in the Diet and the “proac­tive con­tri­bu­tion to peace” prin­ci­ple.

Ja­pan, in ad­di­tion to mak­ing ef­forts for early se­cu­rity leg­is­la­tion, should play a larger role than be­fore for se­cur­ing the peace of Asia as a whole. This is an ed­i­to­rial pub­lished by The Yomi­uri Shimbun on June 6.

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