China Ups the Game in the South China Sea

China Ups the Game in the South China Sea

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he won't allow government forces to conduct joint patrols of disputed waters near the South China Sea with foreign powers, apparently scrapping a deal his predecessor reached with the USA military earlier this year.

Japan plans to increase its engagement in the South China Sea by conducting joint training patrols with the U.S. Navy and other exercises with regional navies, nudging China's extensive territorial claims in the region.

Inada added that the patrols help uphold "the rules-based global maritime order".

To boost its involvement in the South China Sea, Japan will take part in "Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the U.S. Navy and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies", explained Inada.

Japan will join training patrols with the USA as well as bilateral and multilateral military exercises with regional countries' navies. Inada stressed the importance of upholding worldwide law in the South China Sea, saying that if "rule-bending" is permitted to go unchallenged, the "consequences could become global".

But despite the warning, Japan's newly appointed defense minister Tomomi Inada promised to sail with the American armada. Although not a party claiming islands in the South China Sea, Japan is in a separate territorial dispute with China over unoccupied islands in the East China Sea. Tokyo also agreed to provide two large patrol ships and lend up to five used surveillance aircraft to the Philippines, yet another country at odds with China over sovereignty issues in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

As the 57-year-old minister announced Japanese objectives - destined to aggravate China - she stressed that Japan is open to constructive dialogue with Beijing. Neighboring Asian nations including Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam have overlapping claims to parts of the waters.

The Washington trip, which included talks with Defense Secretary Ash Carter Thursday evening, was seen as an early test for Ms. Inada, who political observers in Tokyo could be emerging as a leading candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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".

In recent months, tensions have risen in the South China Sea as the United States has increased its presence there.

Asked whether she was suggesting the Philippines should be more active in the South China Sea, she said, "Well, the Philippines is a claimant state".

Carter agreed and said the US government will continue to cooperate with the Japanese government to achieve the goal.

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