Japan to provide planes, ships for Philippines amid sea dispute with China

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 10:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 10:43pm

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday 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.

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 of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

Japan has no claims in the waterway but worries about China’s growing military reach across sea lanes through which much of Japan’s trade passes.

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.

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