DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 August) – Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said his government has re-affirmed its commitment to support the Philippines in its territorial row with China over the West Philippines Sea but that the conflict must be resolved through peaceful means.
In a joint press briefing Thursday afternoon at the Marco Polo Hotel, Kishida said the rule of law must be upheld to ensure regional stability and prosperity.
“In our meeting this time, we have agreed that in pursuit of the solution to the conflict in the maritime area, it is important that we base on the rule of law and to resort to peaceful means and not through the use of force or coercion,” he said.
He said the Japanese government vowed to continue providing support for the improvement of the maritime security and capabilities of the Philippines.
“From this point, we are prepared to work closely with the Philippines going forward,” he said.
Last month, the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines’ claim to its 200-km. exclusive economic zone over China’s “nine-dash line” that is based on historical claim.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. maintained that the West Philippine sea issue must not be resolved through intimidation and provocation in order to assert China’s claims.
Yasay urged parties to respect the decision of the tribunal and countries to assert territorial claims based on international law.
“The Philippines shares the same concern expressed by the Foreign Minister and we are one also in articulating such grave concern, and we invoke and urge China to make sure that maritime security and the rule of law must be completely and uncompromisingly be respected,” he said.
Kishida said Japan reaffirmed its ties with the Philippines with his visit to the country that further strengthens its relationship with the Duterte administration.
Yasay said both countries will consider enhancing ties in the areas of culture, health, education, infrastructure, defense, and international security. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)