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.