Monday, December 10, 2012

Philippines welcomes a 'stronger Japan' in southeast Asia - DFA

The Philippines welcomes a “stronger Japan” to shift the balance of power in the region that is faced with territorial disputes over waters southeast of China and west of the Philippines, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Monday.

"We will welcome a stronger Japan. Together with other partners, they would serve as a balancing act (in the region). We are looking for a balance in power," he said.

"We want Japan to support the peaceful process in resolving issues here. Japan is one of our partners in security," he added.

Hernandez repeated the views Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario expressed in his interview with the Financial Times published over the weekend.

In an interview with the London-based paper, del Rosario said the Philippines strongly supports a re-armed Japan because it could be a "significant balancing factor."

The region has become a military flashpoint as China exhibits increasingly aggressive behavior in claiming disputed but resource-rich island groups in waters far beyond its coastline.

Del Rosario's statement came a few days before the possible re-election of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants Japan’s pacifist constitution amended and its military restored. 

A re-armed Japan will mean a change in the military balance in Asia, which many believes is going to be dominated by China in a few years.

After World War II, the Japanese military has been reduced to the Japan Self-Defense Forces, which is purely for its defense with expressed prohibition against interfering in regional security issues.

In that war, the Philippines was among the countries that was invaded and occupied by Japan.-Interaksyon (December 10, 2012 6:01PM)

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