Philippines and Japan are set to strengthen security ties when President Benigno Aquino will visit Tokyo next week, the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to beef up cooperation with Southeast Asian nations facing China’s growing naval ambitions.
The two sides will likely agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology and to discuss a possible pact on the status of Japanese military personnel visiting the Philippines to facilitate joint training and exercises, officials involved in the talks said.
Aquino’s June 2-5 trip to Japan follows Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit this week, during which the two leaders agreed to upgrade ties to a strategic partnership and to cooperate in defense equipment.
Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will accompany Aquino’s visit in Japan.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin confirmed and said that, “we already submitted a wish list to Japan, what equipment the Philippines need urgently to boost our maritime security in the South China Sea,” adding Manila was in discussion with Tokyo over a package of soft loans to purchase the kit.
Defense wish list consist of the following military equipment sush as,
1. P-3C, Orion maritime surveillance aircraft that Tokyo is replacing with newer planes
2. Shirane class destroyers, commissioned in 1980, but still in good condition and much better than the former coast guard cutters.
Armament: • Sea Sparrow SAM launcher
• ASROC Mk 112 octuple launcher
• 2 × FMC 5″/54 caliber Mark 42 guns
• 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
• 2 × Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes (Mk-46 torpedoes)
Aircraft carried: 3 × SH-60J(K) anti-submarine helicopters
4. A diesel- electric powered type, Oyashio-class submarines made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation. Oyashio Class submarines can conduct both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions and it is one of the quietest and largest submarine classes of the JMSDF.
3. Hayabusa class missile patrol boats that Japan is using in the Senkakus, which we can use for asymmetric warfare to protect our EEZ. We can later have a lot of them locally built.
Tokyo already has agreements on defense equipment and technology transfers with the United States, Britain, Australia and France and a similar pact with Manila is needed to allow it to export to the Philippines.
Abe’s defense minister, Gen Nakatani, has repeatedly said the situation in the South China Sea is having a bigger impact on Japan’s security and that Tokyo needs to consider how to respond.