Japan and the United States will conduct a combined naval forces in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as it will increase engagement through joint training patrols and exercises with regional navies, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, a newly appointed Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said.
Inada on her first initial meeting with Pentagon chief Ash Carter at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. said that Japan will help build the capacity of coastal nations in the South China Sea.
Inada also said the Japanese government would be giving military aid to countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam as it increases its role in the contested waters of the South China Sea.
Inada mentioned how China’s recent activities in the East China and South China seas were “raising serious concern in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.”
“I would like to underline my government’s resolve to protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” said Inada.
“To this end, we will continue our own defense efforts and also maintain and enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance.”
Japan, a close US partner has also engaged in territorial disputes with China on the Senkaku Island on the east sea, though it is not among the countries claiming territory in the disputed South China Sea.
However, Japan shares US concern about China’s assertive behavior as it bullies Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan by unlawfully claiming every nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or almost 90% of the entire South China Sea. -JCE.