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 $5 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.