Japan, Philippines to boost ties amid China rows over islands
MANILA (AFP) - Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called for stronger ties with the Philippines to help ensure regional peace, amid tense territorial disputes by both countries with a rising China.
In his first foreign trip as a top diplomat since last month's election of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr Kishida said such cooperation was dictated by big changes in the region's security equation, though he did not elaborate.
"As the strategic environment in the region is greatly changing, it is necessary for us foreign ministers to share recognition of the situation," Mr Kishida said after meeting Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.
Mr Kishida said this also made it necessary to "enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and cooperate in shaping (a) peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. In today's meeting, we agreed on this point".