MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III on Friday said that he is eyeing to sign an agreement that will allow Japanese troops to visit the country and join wide range of operations, including military.
The President made the statement following reports that a Chinese warship fired flares on Filipino fishing boat near a reef in the disputed waters in the South China Sea.
He said that the country is ready to start talks with Japan regarding the signing of a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) similar to what the country have with the United States and Australia.
Aquino said that it will allow Japan to refuel and resupply other legal needs for Japanese troops while in the Philippines.
Japan and the Philippines also signed a deal on Thursday to confirm the supply of 10 patrol vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard.
This is to allow the country to step-up on its efforts to patrol around its territory in the South China Sea.
The agreement came following China’s reports of alleged aggressive stance in the disputed waters.
In a statement to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon, meanwhile, said that the firing of flares near Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef) in the Spratly archipelago on the night of May 30.
“They were about 4 kilometers from the reef,” Bito-onon said.
“It was like a warning to go away,” he said.