PH will work with new Japan PM

Rappler.com
Japan will probably pursue a more hardline policy on the Senkaku islands disputed by China, which also claims South China Sea territories under Philippine sovereignty

HAWK? Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo from his official Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Japan will remain a “strategic ally and partner” of the Philippines after the return to power of conservative Shinzo Abe, the government said on Monday, December 17.

“As a strategic ally and partner, we can work with any government in Japan. And certainly we can work with the new leadership,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters.

Lacierda also clarified that Abe’s hawkish views over Japan’s territorial dispute with China in the East China Sea will not affect the Philippines’ own row with China over the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

“I think [the disputes] are two distinct disputes” and the Philippines “act in accordance with what we deem is in our national interest” in the South China Sea.

Lacierda’s comments came after the incoming Japanese prime minister announced there could be no compromise on the sovereignty of the Senkaku islands, which China calls Diaoyu.

Abe led his Liberal Democratic Party to a convincing victory in Sunday’s election, having pushed a hawkish line on the territorial dispute throughout the campaign.

The LDP pledged in its manifesto to “study” the idea of building a port in the Senkakus or stationing bureaucrats there to boost Japan’s control over the strategically important, but uninhabited outcrops in the East China Sea.

Scarborough Shoal is also uninhabited. – Rappler.com, with reports from Agence France-Presse

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