Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06MANILA5016.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA5016 2006-12-15 10:35 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO6139
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #5016/01 3491035
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151035Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4293
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 2445
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3002
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
PROG
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 005016

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KN JP RP
SUBJECT: VISIT OF JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER ABE TO MANILA

REF: MANILA 4935

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used his
December 8-10 visit to highlight a growing emphasis on
political and security issues, including North Korea,
terrorism, Mindanao, and human rights. He also brought a
basket of new assistance, but more explicitly linked future
assistance to effective Philippine action on political
killings. The new focus should help to ensure that this key
bilateral relationship is more comprehensive and
forward-looking. End Summary.

¶2. (U) Japanese Prime Minister Abe visited Manila December
8-10 for his first official trip to the Philippines in that
capacity. Prime Minister Abe carried through with the visit
to the Philippines despite the postponement of the
ASEAN-related Summits, including the second East Asia summit,
in Cebu December 10-13 (reftel). This year marked the Golden
Anniversary of Japanese-Philippine diplomatic relations.

———————————————
New phase: political and security cooperation
———————————————

¶3. (C) According to Japanese Embassy Pol/C Taeko Takahashi,
the substance of Prime Minister Abe’s visit was designed to
reflect a heftier emphasis in bilateral ties on political and
security issues, after having focused primarily on economic
and development ties for the first fifty years. These themes
dominated the Japan-Philippine Joint Statement President
Arroyo and PM Abe issued after their meeting at Malacanang
Palace on December 9. Philippine Department of Foreign
Affairs Northeast Asia Division Director Constancio Vingno
called the statement a “roadmap to the next fifty years” of
Japanese-Philippines relations. Among its most important
points were:
— joint condemnation of North Korea’s recent missile
launches and its nuclear test, joined with a call for North
Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear
programs, to resume the Six Party Talks, and to abide by UN
Security Council resolutions 1695 and 1718;
— joint determination to “prevent, suppress and eliminate
all forms of terrorism,” with Japan providing assistance for
capacity building of law enforcement agencies, including the
Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard;
— cooperation in enhancing regional cooperation through the
East Asia Summit, ASEAN Plus Three, and ASEAN Regional Forum;
— contributions to regional stability by achieving peace in
Mindanao, with Japan helping to provide a “dividend of peace”
through its new advisor to the International Monitoring Team,
many assistance programs, and the drafting in 2007 of a new
plan for reconstruction and development in Mindanao;
— promotion of mutual understanding and cooperation on
maritime and ocean affairs; and,
— reiteration of the importance of “sustaining harmony,
upholding democratic values and protecting human rights,” as
well as working to eradicate human trafficking while
protecting its victims.

——————————–
Aid Linked to Action on Killings
——————————–

¶4. (C) Japanese Pol/C Takahashi and econoff Kunihiko Higashi
separately described how the Japanese had strongly warned
their Philippine counterparts that the Prime Minister would
have to send a strong message on political killings in the
Philippines, in part because of Japanese domestic political
audiences and more generally in order to ensure broad
Japanese public support for growing relations with the
Philippines. The Japanese delegation welcomed the fact that
President Arroyo, immediately after her opening remarks,
directly raised the issue, and underscored that the
Philippines — and she personally — “strongly condemned
killings, legal and illegal” and that “the Philippines is a
democracy that pursues peace and respects human rights.”
Prime Minister Abe told President Arroyo that he “appreciated
the President’s explanation of the Philippines’ human rights
situation,” adding that “in order smoothly to carry out
future Japanese overseas development assistance projects,
please note the strong interest in human rights on the
Japanese side.” President Arroyo described briefly some of
the new steps, including formation of a police task force and
a new presidential commission, to investigate the killings,
bring perpetrators to justice, and suggest more effective
policies to prevent such acts. Higashi added that, at the

MANILA 00005016 002 OF 002

ASEAN Ministers’ meeting in Cebu on December 8, Japanese
Foreign Minister Taro Aso told Philippine Foreign Secretary
Alberto Romulo that “in order for us to release more economic
aid, I want the Philippines to understand the strong concerns
among some people about the human rights record of the
Philippines.” However, Philippine DFA Northeast Asia
Division Director Vingno downplayed the importance of Japan’s
human rights message, claiming that it was “no different”
than that raised earlier by European countries.

¶5. (U) Prime Minister Abe nonetheless used the visit to
highlight various Japanese assistance programs, including a
USD 73 million flood alleviation project for the National
Capitol Region (Metro-Manila), the USD 624,000
Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and
Development, and the inauguration of Japanese-made “3rd
Generation” light rail trains financed by Japan with
concessionary loans. (Note: Japan ranks first in terms of
total Official Development Assistance to the Philippines,
while the U.S. ranks highest for grant assistance and is
third in terms of total ODA. End note)

—————-
Other agreements
—————-

¶6. (U) The two leaders welcomed the signing of a
Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement in September
¶2006. Local NGOs have already been active in criticizing the
agreement for allegedly permitting Japan to export toxic
waste, but Japanese officials clarified that only items
permitted under Philippine regulations could enter the
country, with no special exceptions for Japan. Philippine
officials nonetheless predict a rough road ahead in securing
Senate approval of the new agreement. During the visit, the
two countries agreed to an amendment to an existing tax
treaty addressing double taxation. Prime Minister Abe also
indicated that, in addition to USD 250,000 in disaster relief
for recent typhoons, Japan would contribute up to an
additional USD 1 million for such assistance.

——-
Comment
——-

¶7. (C) Philippine officials were noticeably relieved that
Prime Minister Abe went forward with his visit despite travel
advisories from Australia and the UK (in addition to a US
Embassy warden message) related to security threats during
the Cebu summits and their subsequent postponement.
President Arroyo at least was able to have one important
international visitor in December 2006, even if the gala
summits did not yet take place. The Philippines frequently
highlights the “triad” of its most important partners —
China, Japan, and the U.S. — and the new additional focus on
political and security issues should help to ensure that this
key bilateral relationship is more comprehensive and
forward-looking. Abe’s strong message on human rights and
the apparent linking of ODA with Philippine efforts to stop
political killings are welcome and indeed reflections of a
maturing relationship.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

KENNEY

   

 

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