PH, Japan reaffirm cooperation in sea activities, support in maritime claim

Published October 25, 2021, 8:08 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Philippines and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to sustain activities at sea following international law, including the 2016 arbitral ruling that ruled in favor of the Philippines in a maritime dispute.

MARITIME DIALOGUE — Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Oceans Affairs Maria Angela A. Ponce (left) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department Deputy Director-General Hon. IshizukiI Hideo (right) headed the 4th Maritime Dialogue. (Photo courtesy of the DFA-MOAO)

During the 4th maritime dialogue with Japan on Oct. 22, both countries emphasized the importance of conducting activities at sea in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“They also reaffirmed the 2016 Award on the South China Sea arbitration as final and binding international law that strengthens the legal order over the seas,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

Foreign Affairs Maritime and Ocean Affairs’ Assistant Secretary Maria Angela A. Ponce led the Philippine delegation while the Japanese delegation was headed by Deputy Director-General Ishizuki Hideo, of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Both delegations discussed issues on the security situation in the region, including the East and South China Seas, and Sulu Celebes Sea, updates on maritime law enforcement, defense and coast guard cooperation, fisheries, marine environment, and maritime domain awareness.

“The Philippines and Japan committed to further deepen and expand maritime cooperation in efforts to strengthen bilateral relations, and to continue coordination on maritime-related issues of mutual interest,” the DFA said.

The dialogue was convened to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Philippines-Japan Bilateral Strategic Partnership and the 65th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In 2016, the Hague-based tribunal ruled that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the South China Sea areas falling within the so-called nine-dash line. It also found that China supposedly violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Filipino fishing and petroleum exploration and building artificial islands.