Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquio have agreed to start negotiations on an accord for the transfer of military equipment and technology, aiming to strengthen security ties.

Meeting in Tokyo on June 4 during Aquino’s official visit to Japan, the two leaders shared serious concern about unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East Sea with China’s recent rapid and mass reclamation work in mind, according to the joint statement issued after their talks.

The two leaders underscored the importance to address disputes in line with international law. To ensure regional peace and stability, they agreed to bolster their security cooperation through bilateral and multilateral exercises.

The two leaders hailed the signing of an accord between Japan Marine United Corporation and Philippine Department of Transportation and Communications. The move paves way for the provision of patrol boats to the Philippines.

In a bid to tap the potential of the Philippines, the two leaders set out a road map for better transport infrastructure in Manila to facilitate business operations in the capital known for its traffic congestion. In the blue print, Japan pledged to implement a railway project worth 300 billion JPY (2.4 billion USD).

Speaking at a business forum on the same day, the Philippine President called for further investment from Japan while highlighting hallmark made by Japanese enterprises across fields of electronics, shipbuilding and automotive industries, among others.

With some 1,200 Japanese businesses operating in the Philippines, Japan is the Philippines’ largest trading partner in 2014 as well as largest official development assistance (ODA) provider for the southeast Asian country to boost infrastructure development and other targets.-VNA