Japan plans to donate patrol boats costing US$11 million each to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to counter China’s rising maritime strength in disputed waters.
The Japanese government plans to finance the development assistance program in its fiscal 2013 budget that will provide the Philippines with newly built patrol vessels, The Nikkei reported, without specifying the number of boats on offer.
Last month, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida visited Manila and called for stronger security ties with the Southeast Asian nations to help ensure regional peace.
Japan’s coastguard also plans to train Philippine and Vietnam troops as part of additional efforts to boost security cooperation with Southeast Asia. Tokyo has allotted 2.5 billion yen in the fiscal 2013 budget draft for such expenditures such as aiding the coast guards and improving maritime communication systems, according to The Nikkei.
Both countries are locked in a territorial dispute with China over claims to parts of the South China Sea.
This comes following a “serious” escalation of tensions between Japan and China when a Chinese navy frigate locked its weapons-targeting radar on Japanese naval forces in the East China Sea.
China has denied the allegations and criticized Japan for fanning the “China threat”.