August 18, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has acknowledged the relationship between the Philippines and Japan, saying it has evolved to include agreements concerning security and defense, Malacañang said on Thursday.
“In the past, it could be said that the largest part of our interaction between our two countries [was] always in terms of trade, in terms of development, in terms of ODA (Official Development Assistance),” the President said in a meeting with Komeito Party Chief Representative Yamaguchi Natsuo in Malacañang on Wednesday.
“But I suppose that now, times have changed and those agreements have gone beyond just trade, just business, just investment. And we now have to concern ourselves with issues of security and defense in our region,” he added.
The statement comes amid separate but coinciding tensions in Japanese and Philippine territories.
The Philippines faces continued harassment from China in the West Philippine Sea while Japan recently reported that North Korea fired a missile in the Korean Peninsula that may have landed near Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
“We must acknowledge the very important contributions that Japan has made to the Philippines in terms of not only training, not only in terms of equipment but also in the agreements that we have been able to forge between our two countries in terms of cooperation, in terms of preserving the peace and allowing the free conduct of trade and shipping the South China Sea,” Marcos said.
In turn, Yamaguchi told Marcos that Japan supports the Philippines in different sectors, including defense.
“So Japan actively supports the Philippines into entering the upper-middle income countries, public and private sectors, and also we would like to see many corporations not only in defense corporation but also maritime security corporation, also agriculture areas,” Yamaguchi said.