Japan to provide planes, patrol ships to Philippines

This file photo taken on July 13, 2016 shows the Japanese Coast Guard ship PLH02 Tsugaru (background) with a Philippine Coast Guard boat (centre) during their annual joint anti-piracy exercise in the waters off Manila Bay.
This file photo taken on July 13, 2016 shows the Japanese Coast Guard ship PLH02 Tsugaru (background) with a Philippine Coast Guard boat (centre) during their annual joint anti-piracy exercise in the waters off Manila Bay.PHOTO: AFP

VIENTIANE • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday agreed to provide two large 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, Laos, 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$6.7 trillion) of trade moves annually.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

An arbitral tribunal 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 have been marred by a long-running territorial spat over a group of islets in the East China Sea.

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

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Japan to provide planes, patrol ships to Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe