Japan to consider Manila’s request for large ships

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Shinzo Abe
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [photo: Commons Wikimedia/Fæ ]
Japan may consider providing large patrol vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard after leaders of the two nations reached an agreement on defense equipment and technology, according to Reuters.

“There was a request from President Benigno Aquino regarding the provision of large patrol vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard and Japan would like to consider the specifics,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a statement.

The two leaders met Thursday night at the close of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila.

The deal will mark the first time Japan has agreed to directly donate military equipment to another country, Reuters said.

According to the report, the large vessels will patrol the South China Sea, which is the subject of claims by many South East Asian nations, in particular, China and the Philippines.

The two countries have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. China has back its expansive claims with island-building and naval patrols, although the US says it opposes restrictions on freedom of navigation and unlawful sovereignty claims.

Tokyo meanwhile has no claims in the waterway, but worries about China’s growing military reach into sea lanes through which much of Japan’s ship-borne trade passes, said the report.

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