Japan's Abe vows sea help to Philippines amid China row
MANILA (AFP) - Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged increased maritime cooperation with the Philippines on Saturday amid growing territorial disputes with regional rival China.
"For Japan, the Philippines is a strategic partner with whom we share fundamental values and many strategic interests," Mr Abe told a joint news conference with Philippine president Benigno Aquino after their meeting in Manila.
"In order to further reinforce this relationship...we confirm continued assistance to the capacity-building of the Philippine coastguard."
Mr Abe's overnight visit came as tensions have steadily risen between China and Japan, which accuses its neighbour of sending an increasing number of ships to exert its claim over unpopulated Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea.