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Japan presses for stronger ties with PH, US

Visiting Japanese parliamentarian Kenji Kosaka on Tuesday said that Japan would like to see a strong “trilateral relationship” with the Philippines and the United States.’

Tokyo visitor. President Benigno S. Aquino III
welcomes a delegation from Diet, the Japanese
parliament, led by Kenji Kosaka  during a  courtesy
call at the Music Room of the Malacañan Palace on
Tuesday (May 6, 2014). Malacañang Photo Bureau

In an  press conference, Kosaka said that the Philippines and US  are Japan’s strategic partners.

“The bilateral relationship is very important in our region. We would like to value in this region our trilateral relationship between the Philippines, United States and Japan,” said Kosaka,  chairman of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians Friendship League.

As Japan, locked in dispute with China over the Diaoyu Island, also reiterated its support for  the Philippines for bringing its separate row with Beijing before the Arbitral Tribunal.

“We support the Arbitral proceeding under the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), the Philippine government initiated last year,” said Kosaka, whose father also served as JPPFL head.

He said that this arbitration is a wise decision for the Philippines as it will aim for a peace settlement on its dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

“The peace and stability of the region should be based on the rule of law,” he added.

Kosaka said that in one to two years time, Japan will distribute the 10 new patrol boats to the Philippines, following the P29-billion soft-loan that it granted to Manila last year.

“[So far] we are under the designing process - how the equipment will be equipped,” Kosaka said.

“The [construction] of the ships takes about year or two,” he added.

The Japanese government earmarked P29-billion in soft loan to provide new 40-meter, multi-role response vessels to the Philippines. The boats would cost around $10-million.

Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said that Japan approved the request for the new patrol boats through its official development assistance, to be made be payable via long-term period.

Del Rosario said that some parts of the vessels would be manufactured in the Philippines while the rest would be made in Japan.

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