MANILA — The Philippines and Japan have the right to work together on security issues that mutually affect them because of the strategic partnership between them, a Palace official said on Saturday.
China accused the Philippine of conniving with Japan, especially with the planned maritime drills of he two countries in the West Philippine Sea.
“Dapat kilalanin ‘yung reyalidad na ang Pilipinas at ang Japan ay tumatayong strategic partners. Mayroon tayong kasunduan sa kanila sa larangan ng kabuhayan, sa larangan ng seguridad, at sila ay strategic partner nga po ng ating bansa,” Coloma said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma also said that when President Aquino visited Japan last June, he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed how the current strategic partnership could be strengthened further.
Part of it is ensuring freedom of navigation and easing the tension in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea, he said.
“Kaya ito po ay bahagi ng ating strategic partnership na naipahayag sa iba’t ibang international forum, kabilang na ang idinaos na ASEAN Regional Forum sa Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
Asked to comment on China’s statement that it has no plans to impede freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea, he said China’s recent action has raised tensions in the region.
China’s reclamation activities in the contested territories are not constructive as many countries opposed such moves, he said.
The US, the European community, G7 as well as Japan do not support changing the status quo in the region as a result of China’s reclamation works.
“Mayroon pong kasing epekto ito na nagpapataas nang tensyon sa ating rehiyon,” he said adding that it is the reason the Philippines has been calling on China to halt its activities there.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario had asked China to stop its reclamation, the construction of projects, and deescalate the tension in the region.
“Komprehensibo ang aksyon at ang panawagan na ito ay umaani ng suporta dahil nakikita naman ng mga bansang naniniwala sa rule of law na ito ay makatuwiran,” Coloma said.