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Japan, Philippines to step up security cooperation

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Philippine President Benigno Aquino have agreed to step up security cooperation in light of China's growing maritime presence.

The leaders met in Tokyo on Tuesday before Aquino headed to Hiroshima, where he will take part in a conference aimed at establishing peace in Mindanao.

They agreed on the importance of maintaining maritime order based on the rule of law, with apparent reference to China's increased activities in the East and South China Seas.

Abe also explained the ongoing debate aimed at allowing Japan to engage in collective self-defense.

Aquino expressed support for the matter, saying it would be good if Japan could help other countries.

Later at a joint news conference, Abe said the 2 nations confirmed they would cooperate closely in dealing with increasingly difficult regional affairs. Aquino called for efforts to promote the rule of law to safeguard regional security and interests.

Jun. 24, 2014 - Updated 07:21 UTC