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Philippines looking to bolster naval defenses

June 27, 2013

The Philippines was once a territory of the United States, and the Pacific island nation has largely maintained ties with the U.S. since gaining its independence after World War II. Recently, it looked to the U.S. to assist it with a potential tense situation with China, based on disputes regarding sovereignty over the waters of the South China Sea. According to Bloomberg, the Philippines seeks assistance from American and Japanese military forces to ward off what it views as incursions by the Chinese into the waters. The situation could prompt numerous phone conversations, conducted with prepaid phone cards, between those affected by the issue.

The news source reported that the South China Sea, known as a major fishing site and a source for oil and natural gas extraction, has been subject to a number of territorial claims by countries including Vietnam and Taiwan, as well as China and the Philippines. As a result, Filipino President Benigno Aquino agreed to allow U.S. armed forces to have access to Subic Bay, once the site of an American naval base.

Aquino will also cooperate with Japan's Ministry of Defense and its chief official, Itsunori Onodera, as confirmed by the Defense Minister in a recent statement.

"We agreed that we will further co-operate in terms of the defense of remote islands...the defense of territorial seas as well as protection of maritime interests," Onodera said, according to Agence France-Presse. The source reported that the Philippines may receive as many as 18 patrol boats from Japan to bolster its navy, according to past claims made by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Although the Japanese and Chinese have had a tense relationship for many years, Defense Minister Onodera claimed that he hoped this issue between his nation and China would be resolved without any show of military force. Bloomberg reported that Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry, voiced similar hopes for regional stability.


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