MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will discuss maritime cooperation and the Mindanao peace process when the two leaders meet in Japan next week.
Foreign Affairs Asst. Secretary Charles Jose said the West Philippine Sea issue will be likely in their agenda.
“We can see so much developments happening in the South China Sea, East China Sea. So I’m sure they will be sharing views and exchanging views on this issue… It is very important for the President to brief the Japanese side on the arbitration case that we filed against China,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
Jose said President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe will also tackle other areas of cooperation to enhance their countries’ strategic partnership, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response, promotion of trade and investments and people-to-people exchanges.
”Japan is a very important friend and partner of the Philippines. We have very vibrant political, economic, and people-to-people exchanges with Japan. As we all know, Japan is one of our only two strategic partners,” he said.
In area of economic cooperation, Jose said Japan is the country’s number one trading partner, largest source of official development assistance (ODA), third largest source of approved investments, and third largest source of tourists.
”And in terms of people-to-people exchanges, we are very vibrant also; scholarships and trainings are being offered by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), for example. So I think they have a lot of matters that could be discussed during this bilateral meeting,” he said.
Jose said the meeting is an opportunity for the two leaders to exchange views on recent regional developments and to discuss areas of cooperation to enhance our strategic partnership.
They will hold a summit meeting over lunch at Japan prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo during President Aquino’s one-day working trip to Japan on June 24.
After their meeting, President Aquino will deliver the keynote address at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference in Hiroshima, organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the University Saints Malaysia.
”He will be delivering the keynote address in the Bangsamoro conference. As we all know, the Philippine government, especially the President, attaches very much importance to this CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) and he will have a chance to—as a follow up action on the CAB,” Jose said.
The Chief Executive will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Presidential Management Staff head Secretary Julia Abad and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.
After speaking in Hiroshima, President Aquino will return home to Manila.
The President will visit Japan upon the invitation of Prime Minister Abe.