Photo by Reuters

Japan is prepared to dispatch a warship to monitor China’s land reclamation in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, left, and Vice Adm. Yasuhiro Shigeoka, commander in chief, Japan Self-Defense Fleet Security, center left, and Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander of Battle Force 7th Fleet, right, observe flight operations from the navigation bridge of the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. (Photo: U.S. Navy)
Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, left, and Vice Adm. Yasuhiro Shigeoka, commander in chief, Japan Self-Defense Fleet Security, center left, observe flight operations from the navigation bridge of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Commander of Japan’s Self Defense Fleet, Vice Admiral Yasuhiro Shigeoka, said that the Maritime Self-Defense Force is prepared to enter and patrol South China Sea at any time, and “upon command,” the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

The statement was made the same day US and Japan said that even if the two navies conducted a joint training exercise at sea, neither side has plans to launch joint patrols in the South China Sea. USA Today reported.

The exercise involved 32 U.S. and Japanese warships and aircraft 25 which were Japanese and 7 were U.S. warships.

See also: Hague Court Hearing: China’s ‘historic rights’ over South China Sea, baseless.

Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, said that the exercises would “enable [the United States and Japan] to help one another because ships can be spread out over the ocean…We think it bodes well for the future, not only for our two countries but for the Western Pacific.”

Aucoin did not have precise plans for a U.S.-Japan patrol of the South China Sea, but a mission is possible in the future, Japanese press reported.

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