South China Sea: Japan, Philippines get ready to hold first naval drill


Peace and Freedom

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TOKYO/MANILA – Japan and the Philippines will hold their first joint naval drill this month in the South China Sea near a disputed shoal claimed by Beijing, sources in Tokyo and the Philippines said.

Philippine Navy Frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) with a Philippine Coast Guard vessel

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The May 12 maritime safety exercise, which will practise the code for unplanned encounters at sea, known as CUES, is part of an agreement signed by Japan and the Philippines in January aimed at tightening security cooperation.
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The nature of the training is unlikely to worry China unduly, as it has conducted similar exercises with the United States in the past.
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But the presence of Japanese naval vessels in the South China Sea signals Japan’s growing interest in the region, and may irritate Beijing as criticism of its land reclamation projects there mounts.
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“The exercise will not…

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