MANILA — Arriving in Japan this morning, President Benigno Aquino III is set to discuss the on going territorial disputes with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a summit meeting today.
The two leaders may talk about the maritime disputes, according to Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. in an interview with state-run dzRB.
“[B]atid din natin na mayroon tayong kahawig na mga concerns hinggil sa freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation, patungkol naman sa ating maritime entitlements sa South China Sea at sila naman sa East China Sea. Kaya maraming pag-uusapan na topics of mutual interest ang dalawang lider,” Coloma said
[We all know that we have similar concerns (with Japan) regarding freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation in relation to our maritime entitlements in the South China Sea and in their (Japan’s) case, the East China Sea. So there are a lot of topics that are of mutual interest to both (Japan and Philippines) the leaders. ]
The President, which was reported by the Official Gazette on its Twitter account to have landed in Japan early this morning, did not mention directly that he will be discussing the sea disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
During his pre-departure speech, the president mentioned that they will be talking about issues including peace and prosperity in the region–a topic which concerns both nations.
The president also highlighted that the need for a strengthened cooperation and strategic partnership between Philippines and Japan.
“Sa ganitong tibay at lalim ng ugnayan ng Pilipinas at bansang Hapon, ipinaparamdam sa ating hindi tayo nag-iisa. Ang Japan nga po ang isa sa dalawang bansang mayroon tayong strategic partnership, at ito po’y talagang makabuluhan at kapaki-pakinabang para sa ating mga bansa,” Aquino said.
[The strengthened and deepened relationship between the Philippines and Japan makes us feel that we are not alone. Japan is one of the two countries that has a strategic partnership with is, and this is very important and useful for both our countries. ]
“Sa ugnayan pong tulad nito, kailangan ang patuloy na konsultasyon sa isa’t isa upang lalo pang tumibay ang ating alyansa,” Aquino added.
[Partnerships such as this one, requires continued consultation with each countries in order to strengthen our bonds]