BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday confirmed Tokyo’s plan to help the Philippines build up its coast guard amid Manila’s increasing tensions with China over disputes in the South China Sea, Japanese officials said.
Abe told President Benigno Aquino that the process is under way toward swiftly providing 10 patrol craft to the Philippines, a move unveiled during his visit to Manila in July, the officials said.
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of summits related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Abe expressed concern about what he calls “moves to change the status quo by force,” noting that disputes between countries should be resolved peacefully, according to the officials. The two leaders also agreed their countries should advance financial and economic cooperation.
Abe welcomed ongoing consultations for expanding a bilateral currency swap agreement, an initiative aimed at deepening economic ties between Japan and the Philippines.
During a one-on-one meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier in the afternoon, Abe expressed willingness to cooperate with Thailand in developing high-speed rail infrastructure in the Southeast Asian country, the officials said.
Talks with Abbott, Key
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday to cooperate in maritime security.
In separate meetings between Abe and Abbott and Key in Brunei, it was agreed China’s territorial disputes with some ASEAN nations in the South China Sea need to be resolved in accordance with international law.