This is an interesting juxtaposition--
On Monday, December 10th, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on all concerned parties involved in South China Sea issue to enhance mutual trust and cooperation towards conflict resolution.(Full story here). And this:
As China's rapidly growing economic weight is transforming the regional pecking order, tensions with ASEAN member states and Japan, bordering South China Sea, are causing major headache in East Asia.
The Chinese economy is now four times that of ASEAN, and three times that of Japan. If current trends persist, China's economy will be six times that of Japan in another 10 years.
All this wealth will naturally translate into military power that will rival and perhaps exceed that of United States.
These developments are provoking extreme nationalistic sentiments among East Asian populace, as their governments rush to assuage public outcry with massive expansion of military budgets.
The Philippines said Monday that it supports Japan dropping its pacifist constitution and acting as a balance against China, while experts say that Manila and Tokyo will join forces more closely on South China Sea issues.(More here). I don't think China's soothing rhetoric is working....
In an interview with the Financial Times, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines would strongly support a rearmed Japan as a counterweight to "Chinese provocation."