Minister Ichita Yamamoto, Japan’s state minister for Okinawa, and Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin sat down to meet and discuss both countries’ territorial disputes on Thursday as the Japanese official continued on his three-day visit to the Southeast Asian country. Yamamoto said that they had “very frank discussions” on the specific situations, reiterating Japan’s stand on its dispute with China regarding the Senkakus, a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
Yamamoto, who is also in charge of affairs related to Japan’s northern territories, is the third Japanese official to visit the Philippines in the last three months. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also visited the country and met with Philippine President Benigno Aquino in July, while Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was in Manila in June. In a statement, the Philippine Department of Defense said that Yamamoto’s visit was “aimed to further reiterate Japan’s position and views under the administration of Prime Minister Abe on regional security issues, especially in the East China Sea.” According to the statement, both Gazmin and Yamamoto agree that maritime security is a common major concern of the two countries, in light of their respective territorial disputes with China.
Yamamoto also had a time to sit down with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario where they also discussed maritime security issues. “In my meeting with the foreign secretary and the defense secretary, I clearly and precisely explained Japan’s position on Senkaku Islands,” Yamamoto said. However he did not delve into the details of their talk, as they discussed delicate and confidential matters. The Philippines currently has a running dispute with China over a number of islands and territories in the South China Sea. Yamamoto decided not to give out details of the talks, but said that both countries agreed on the value of cooperation with the United States, especially when it comes to national security matters.
[via The Inquirer]
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