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3 Japanese vessels to visit Philippines|
By Jaime Laude Home Updated May 25, 2012 06:00 PM 0 comment to this post
MANILA, Philippines - Japan is sending three training ships to the Philippines for a four-day port call next week.
This came after the Japanese government declared that it is supplying the Philippines with 10 brand-new patrol vessels to bolster its maritime and territorial capabilities before the year ends.
The scheduled arrival of JS Kashima (TV-3505) JS Shimayuki (TV-3513) and JS Matsuyuki (DD-130) from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) training squadron in Manila, came only days after the visit of the United States (US) nuclear-powered submarine USS North Carolina and the two Indian warships, INS Rana and INS Shakti in Subic, Zambales since last week.
Defense and military authorities described all these recent friendly port calls and visits of warships as "routine" and has nothing to do with the ongoing tense territorial stand-off in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) between the Philippines and China.
Navy spokesman Col. Omar Tonsay said that Philippine Navy ship BRP Apolinario Mabini will welcome the three Japanese training ships under the overall command of Rear Admiral Hidetoshi Fuchinoue, upon arrival on the waters off Corregidor Island on May 28.
The visiting Japanese maritime training vessels: JS Kashima has a standard displacement of 4,050 gross tons, has length of 143 meters and bean of 18 meter, draft of seven meters and an armament of 76mm main gun and two triple torpedo tubes and a complement of 360 personnel.
The JS Shimayuki has a displacement of 3,050 gross tons, length of 130 meters, beam of 13.6 meters and draft of 8.5 meters and is armed with a 76mm main gun, two 20mmm close-in weapon systems, one surface-to-surface missile tube, one surface-to-arm missile system, an anti-submarine launcher and two triple torpedo tubes and has a 200-man compliment.
The JS Matsuyuki has the same dimensions, crew and armament of her sistership, JS Matsuyuki.
While in the Philippines until May 31, the visiting Japanese sailors will involve themselves in goodwill activities with their Filipino counterparts.
“The visit will further strengthen existing friendly relations between the two navies through a series of scheduled events aimed at enhancing understanding and cooperation,” Tonsay said.
Earlier, the Japanese government announced that it is supplying on a loan, the Philippines 10 40-footer patrol vessels along with two one-tonner ships to help strengthen the country’s maritime patrols and territorial defense.
The vessels which will all be deliverd by the end of the year will be turned over to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which for now has only a single vessel deployed in Panatag Shoal as against the five Chinese maritime and Fishery Law Enforcement Command (FLEC) vessels in the area.
Japanese newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, said in an editorial that Japan could not just stand and watch China’s ongoing military build-up in South China Sea while expressing fears of a direct confrontation between Beijing and the Philippines in the wake of a tense territorial standoff in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal).
“Japan cannot afford to ignore the Scarborough Shoal dispute, as the nation faces similar friction with China, which claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands,” the Yomiuri Shimbun, said.
It added: “Peace and stability in the South China Sea is not only crucial for nations in Southeast Asia. It also is in Japan’s national interest to ensure that its sealanes remain safe."
Yomiuri Shimbun noted the Japanese government's plans to use official development assistance to provide the Philippines with patrol vessels for its coast guard to help the country strengthen its maritime security. – Jaime Laude