World / Asia-Pacific

Japan, the Philippines to hold maritime drill in South China Sea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-08 19:22

TOKYO -- Japan and the Philippines planned to hold a joint maritime drill from June 23 to 24 in the South China Sea, a move apparently aims at paving way for the two sides to further disturb stability in the region, local mediareported Monday.

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) will dispatch a P- 3C surveillance aircraft to the drill, while the Filipino navy will send a vessel and a plane to the high sea southwest of Manila, Japan's public broadcaster NHK cited the Japanese Defense Ministry as reporting.

The ministry said the upcoming drill is the "first formal" joint drill between the two countries, despite the one held last month, according to the report.

The joint exercise came at a time when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing the country's parliament to pass unconstitutional security-related bills aiming at laying" legitimate ground"for the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to exercise right to collective self-defense.

Japan's pacifist Constitution bans the SDF from engaging in battles overseas, while Abe reinterpreted the country's supreme law to allow the SDF to engage in fights abroad under his doctrine of"proactive pacifism."

The report followed Filipino President Benigno Aquino's Japan visit, in which the two sides agreed to enhance bilateral maritime security cooperation and to start talks on Japan's use of Filipino military bases.

The Philippines continued to build military facilities on some Chinese islands it occupies in the South China Sea, despite China's constant urge for it to follow the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, and is trying to drag Japan into the territorial dispute.

Also on Monday, chief of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force discussed with his Philippine counterpart here on beefing up bilateral military collaboration.

Japan, which has lifted its ban on armaments exports, is helping the Philippines to boost its maritime forces and its official development assistance to the Philippines were largely used militarily.

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