Japan agrees to provide planes, ships for Philippines, strengthen cooperation over South China Sea dispute

The Japanese destroyers JS Yugiri (left) and JS Yudachi are seen docked in Manila South Harbour during a goodwill visit on Aug 31, 2016.
The Japanese destroyers JS Yugiri (left) and JS Yudachi are seen docked in Manila South Harbour during a goodwill visit on Aug 31, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

VIENTIANE (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (Sept 6) agreed to provide two large-sized patrol ships and lend up to five used surveillance aircraft to the Philippines, a Japanese government spokesman said, with both countries locked in territorial disputes with China.

Mr Abe and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte agreed in Vientiane to strengthen cooperation to ensure a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than US$5 trillion (S$6.8 trillion) of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

An arbitration court in The Hague in July invalidated China's claims to the waterway after a case was brought by the Philippines, a ruling that Beijing refuses to recognise.

Japan's ties with China has been marred by a long-running territorial spat over a group of small islets in the East China Sea.

Japan has already agreed to provide 10 smaller-sized patrol ships to the Philippines.