The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network
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 self-righteous 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.