Japan supportive of rules-based order in WPS
BY FRANCO JOSE C. BAROÑA
The Manila Times
A JAPANESE military official said Japan will fully support a rules-based international order in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said on Saturday that the message was relayed by Japanese Self Defense Forces Chief Gen. Koji Yamazaki during his meeting with AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Andres Centino in Japan this week. Centino led the Philippine delegation to the event titled Defense and Security Equipment International Japan held from March 14 to 17. Baclor said Yamazaki and Centino discussed mutual concerns on maritime cooperation and defense including the Proposed Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA). The RAA, also known as the Status of Forces Agreement, is a cooperation pact between Manila and Tokyo, serving as a countermeasure against China’s aggressive encroachment in the East and South China Seas. Japan recently entered into similar agreements with Britain and Australia. The Philippines considers Japan as one of its strongest allies in terms of security and economic and development.