CHINA TOPIX

Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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Japan Continues to Strengthen Philippine Military; Plans to have its Navy use Philippine Ports

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(Photo : JMSDF) A Japan Coast Guard Raizan class PS (Patrol Vessel Small), the type Japan might start delivering to the Philippines this year.

The just concluded visit to the Philippines by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is strengthening the already close military ties between both countries and has prompted China to accuse Japan of fanning tensions in Asia.

Kishida confirmed Japan will deliver 10 44 meter coast guard vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard beginning this month. These vessels, which are worth $188.5 million, were promised to the Philippines during the term of former Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino.

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While Kishida was in the Philippines, the Japanese foreign ministry in Tokyo announced the Philippines and Japan have begun talks that will see Japan deliver two brand new 90 meter multi-role response coast guard vessels to the Philippines.

"Both governments are looking into the possibility of getting two more vessels, this time the bigger ones," said Masato Ohtaka, deputy spokesman of Japan's foreign ministry.

"We're in the middle of dialogue between the two sides, they are still discussing details and we need a little more time."

Ohtaka also said the Philippines and Japan talked about how Japan can help the Philippines in capacity building, particularly with regards to maritime security

In late 2015, both countries made a deal that paved the way for Tokyo to supply Manila with used military equipment that might include aircraft to patrol the disputed South China Sea.

The deal was the first time Japan agreed to directly donate military equipment to another country, and was the latest example of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's more assertive diplomacy against China.

Japan's move to arm the Philippines wasn't lost on Chinese media. One outlet alleges Japan's real purpose in strengthening the Philippines' naval forces for it to use Philippine ports for its warships.

Chinese media said Kishida's visit to the Philippines shows Japan is encouraging the Philippine government of President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue the Aquino's policy against China while spreading the misleading message China has no intention of fixing its worsening relationship with Japan.

Kishida met his counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, in the city of Davao on Mindanao Island where both pledged to work closely to boost maritime security as they contend with separate sea disputes with China.

Kishida visited the Philippines to strengthen "friendly ties." Kishida and Yasay discussed the South and East China Sea issues and the sale of Japanese patrol ships to the Philippines.

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