Japan - Philippines Tighten Defense Ties for Sea disputes over China

Bolstering defense Japan - Philippines

Japan and the Philippines agreed on during the visit of the Philippines' president to Japan September 27, 2011 to strengthen maritime security ties, while also underscoring the importance of preserving peace and stability in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) amid rising tensions with China.

China has pronounced many times that they owned everything the in West Philippines Sea that worries other tiger economies in Asia such as Japan & South Korea which major of their trades are passing the world's most busiest sea in the West Philippines Sea and South China Sea – Spratlys archipelago.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and the Philippines President Benigno Aquino III met, on a four-day visit to Japan. Japanese Prime Minister told reporters that the two sides committed to bolstering "cooperation between coastguards and defense-related authorities."

A joint statement said bilateral ties have evolved from friendly relations to a "strategic partnership," and called for more collaboration on "regional and global issues of mutual concern and interest." The two countries also agreed to conduct frequent discussions on defense at more senior levels and increase the number of Japan Coast Guard missions to help train their Philippines counterparts.

Although the agreement does not directly mention China, it is a major symbolic step toward a multilateral consensus in Asia on dealing with increasing territorial friction with China.

China maintain its claim to the whole West Philippines Sea & South China Sea  with its 9 dotted map inspite of criticism of the ASEAN neighbor with 200 Nautical Miles Exclusive Economic Zone claim in the sea.

The Philippines and China both lay claim to the Spratly Islands; an archipelago in the West Philippines Sea and South China Sea that geologists think may lie atop significant oil and gas deposits and rumored to be the 4th largest oil and gas deposit in the world. Philippines' officials have accused Chinese vessels of hindering oil and gas exploration in a portion of the waters known as Recto Bank (Reed Bank) which is just few kilometers off Palawan Province – Philippines says this is not part of the disputed areas. Vietnam, which also claims part of the Spratly chain, has likewise complained of China's increasingly assertive claims in the region.

China's Fishing Vessel tactics

China has been noticed by the neighbors that they are using fishing vessel tactics which equipped with high powered weapon to enter other waters. Japan learned from China's tactic after China invaded the Mischief Reef few kilometers off Palawan province of the Philippines using the fishermen vessel to erect a fishermen shelter then later converted it into a Military Garrison even inside the Philippines territory.

In 2011 alone, Japan intercepted Chinese Fishing vessel entering their waters. Moreover, Indonesia's coastguard also arrested Chinese entering their seas using a fishing vessel.

The recent issue that escalate tension between Vietnam and China happened also this year when Chinese fishing vessel cut the cable of the Petro Vietnam, a Vietnam Government Owned Oil exploration which china alibi as it is just a Chinese Fishing vessel and mistakenly drag the cable but later admitted that Vietnam is illegally operating in the area as they said its owned and they do not violated any law and they are not invading.

The Philippines didn't escape from China's harassment. China harassed Filipino Fishermen in the Philippines Waters saying to leave the area because it belongs to china, then another incident happened when China fired the Filipino Fishermen in the Palawan Sea and put markers in the Island and waters in Palawan shore.

Japan too, has seen its relations with China strained by a territorial dispute, this one over islands in the East China Sea. A war of words broke out between Beijing and Tokyo last autumn following the arrest of a Chinese fishing crew by the Japanese coast guard, and the year since has brought a series of incursions by Chinese ships into the disputed waters. Mr. Noda earlier this month voiced concern over China's military build-up and increased maritime activity near Japan.

The agreement between Japan and the Philippines stresses the two countries' shared interests, bringing the similar but separate maritime squabbles with China under a larger cooperative umbrella.

"The peaceful settlement of disputes serves the interests of the two countries and the whole region," said the joint statement, signed by both leaders. Japan and the Philippines "share the recognition that these same interests should also be advanced and protected in the West Philippines Sea and South China Sea."

Responding to the Japan-Philippines meeting, China's foreign ministry on Tuesday (September 27, 2011) reiterated its claim to the disputed waters in the South China Sea.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the island and surrounding waters of the South China Sea," said ministry spokesman Hong Lei in Beijing.

Regardless of many criticisms, China never leaves the phrases; "we owned everything" & "China has indisputable sovereignty over the island and surrounding waters". Philippines Challenged China to bring the disputes to the United Nations to end it but China refused and said we are only open to bilateral settlement not to the United Nations. 

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