TIME South China Sea

Japan Will Start Joint Patrols With the U.S. in the South China Sea

Ted Aljibe—AFP / Getty Images Sailors of Japanese helicopter carrier Ise patrol past their ship shortly after arriving at the former U.S. naval base, Subic port, north of Manila, on April 26, 2016

Tokyo will also engage in exercises with regional navies

Japan will begin joint training patrols alongside the U.S. in the South China Sea, its Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said on Thursday.

In a speech at a Washington, D.C., think-tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Inada said Japan’s increased engagement where the two countries share common concern over China’s territorial pursuits, will also include “capacity building” for coastal nations.

According to Reuters, Japan has agreed to provide the Philippines — which also has territorial disputes with China in the contested waters — with two large patrol ships and up to five used surveillance aircraft.

Inada also said Japan will engage in bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies, Reuters reports.

“[If] rule bending” was to succeed, said Inada, in reference to China’s response to recent arbitration over the disputed waters, “the consequences could become global.”



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