Asia Briefs: Duterte gives nod to $7.6b military upgrade

Duterte gives nod to $7.6b military upgrade

MANILA • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a five-year plan to spend 300 billion pesos (S$7.6 billion) to modernise the outdated military, defence officials said yesterday.

A previous 15-year upgrade plan failed to take off in the mid-1990s, leaving the Philippines with outdated hardware, including warships from World War II and helicopters used by the US in the Vietnam War.

"We have the go signal now to buy brand-new equipment, like fighters, drones, light tanks, radar, an additional frigate and a submarine to boost our defence capability," said a defence official, who declined to be named.

Mr Duterte was said to have approved the modernisation plan at a meeting with top defence and military officials last month.


Visitors to Japan in May hit record 2.68m

TOKYO • The number of foreign visitors to Japan rocketed to a record-high of 2.68 million last month, a year-on-year increase of 16.6 per cent, the Japan Tourism Agency said yesterday.

The agency said the jump was largely due to an almost 30 per cent surge in arrivals from China, to 668,600, as well as from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The agency added that for the five months of the year, the total estimated number of visitors to Japan climbed 15.6 per cent from a year earlier, to 13.2 million people.


Timor Leste to swear in Vasconcelos as PM

DILI • Timor Leste will swear in as prime minister tomorrow its former president and independence fighter Jose Maria de Vasconcelos, putting an end to months of political deadlock in the tiny South-east Asian nation.

Mr Vasconcelos belongs to a three-party coalition, the Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP), that won 34 of the 65 seats up for grabs in May's parliamentary election, the fifth since independence from Indonesia in 2002.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2018, with the headline 'Asia Briefs'. Subscribe