BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday confirmed Japan's plans to support Manila's capacity-building efforts for its coast guard amid increasing tensions between the Philippines and China over their overlapping claims in the South China Sea, Japanese officials said.
Abe told Philippine President Benigno Aquino that the process is under way toward swiftly providing 10 patrol ships to the Philippines as unveiled during his visit to Manila in July, the officials said.
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a series of summits related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Abe expressed concern about what he calls "moves to change the status quo by force," noting that disputes between countries should be resolved peacefully, according to the officials.
The leaders of Japan and the Philippines also agreed that the two countries should advance financial and economic cooperation.
Abe welcomed ongoing consultations between the two countries for expanding a bilateral currency swap agreement, an initiative aimed at deepening economic ties with the fast-growing Southeast Asian economy.
During a one-on-one meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier in the afternoon, Abe expressed willingness to cooperate with Thailand in developing high-speed rail infrastructure in the Southeast Asian country, the officials said.