PH's support to rearm Japan surprises China

By Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 15 2013 08:29 AM | Updated as of Jan 15 2013 09:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - China is surprised that the Philippines supports a US proposal to rearm Japan.

In an editorial, state-owned newspaper China Daily said: “The Philippines, which suffered Japanese atrocities during World War II, has surprisingly supported the revival of militarism in Japan, which has the tacit backing of the United States.”

The editorial said the US is playing with fire by re-arming Japan and instigating territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The US may be willing to propel Japan’s territorial ambitions – a dangerous move to say the least – to contain China’s rise, but it cannot afford to push thousands of US soldiers into another conflict,” read the editorial.

The belligerence of some Southeast Asian countries in their territorial disputes with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is making matters worse, the editorial said.

The Philippines and Japan agreed on Thursday to strengthen policy dialogue and enhance maritime cooperation.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said after meeting Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario in Manila that stronger cooperation is necessary because of security changes in the region.

Del Rosario said he and Kishida discussed Japanese assistance to the Philippines in strengthening the capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard through human resource development and augmentation of much needed communications system equipment for maritime safety.

The acquisition of multi-role response vessels is undergoing serious consideration, he added.

China is seeking to assert its claims to Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands.

Territorial disputes between the Philippines and China over claims to territories in the West Philippine Sea increased in 2012.

It involved a standoff at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal within Philippine territory.