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Japanese, Philippine leaders to discuss maritime cooperation

Kyodo

Philippine President Benigno Aquino will discuss maritime cooperation with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when they meet for lunch on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit later this week, a government spokesman said.

Raul Hernandez said Aquino will leave for Tokyo on Thursday to attend the summit slated for Friday and Saturday.

“During the meeting, the two leaders will discuss cooperation on disaster management and reconstruction in the wake of typhoon (Haiyan), economic concerns, maritime cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and the Mindanao peace process,” he told a news conference Monday at the Malacanang presidential palace.

“The two leaders will also exchange views on prevailing regional issues of mutual concern,” he said without elaborating.

Aquino told reporters in another news conference that “anything that creates tension and instability (in the region) is a concern for all of us” and could be a topic in the summit that will be attended by Abe and the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“Everybody should be focused on maintaining a stable region so that we have the necessary milieu for expanding economies for the benefit of all our peoples,” Aquino said.

Also, Hernandez said Aquino and Abe will witness the signing of three exchanges of notes on a post-disaster standby loan worth ¥10 billion, a loan for multirole response vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard worth ¥18.732 billion and the revised route schedule for a bilateral air services agreement.

Japan has actively taken part in the monthlong relief and rehabilitation efforts to help millions of Filipinos who survived Haiyan, the powerful typhoon that flattened the central Philippines on Nov. 8.

Japan has also played peacemaker in the talks to end a Muslim rebellion on Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines.