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PH-Japan Meeting Includes Sea Dispute Resolution

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MANILA, Philippines – Philippines and Japan agreed to a resolution on sea dispute by advancing a rules-based regime, claimed by President Duterte last Thursday night.

Chinese Coast Guard departed Scaborough or Panatag Shoal after a few days following President’s statement that fishermen will soon be able to fish around traditional grounds again.

Philippines and Japan pushed forward a peaceful settlement in the region’s territorial disputes, stated by the President during his arrival speech after Japan state visit. The agreement is based on the countries’ shared democracy values, rule of law adherence, and dispute peaceful resolutions.

President Duterte added that South China Sea rights are for the Filipinos and beyond the country. Relatively, overflight and navigation freedom in these waters must be assured. The agreement were drafted in line with 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) international law.

A higher level of addressing issues concerning economic, defense, and socio-political security cooperation is agreed upon by the President and Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

For a more stable and secured environment in the Philippines, both countries agreed to exchange vibrant political and defense support. The key priority is to improve maritime domain awareness and security.

The President emphasized Japan’s important role in improving capacities of Philippines’ maritime development streamlining the goal of protecting naval interests. Upgrading maritime capacities is essential in addressing national threats, such as disasters, terrorism, sea criminality, and piracy.

Philippine-China military alliance was not discussed during the President’s visit to China. The arbitral ruling won by the Philippines last July was not even mentioned by the President. The state visit centered on economic agreements solely.

Following the President’s disinterest to PH-US joint military exercises, he expressed interest in conducting joint military exercise with Japan during his state visit. Philippines-Japan cooperation in patrolling Philippine-controlled waters was also highlighted.

Presidential Spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, stated that it has been observed that fishermen can now go into Panatag Shoal. Although there is no paper formalizing the arbitration yet, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) stated freedom of fishing in the area has been seen.

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