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Philippines to Lease Five Japan Planes for Patrols in Disputed S China Sea

© AFP 2021 / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan
Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan - Sputnik International
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The Philippines plans to lease five military aircraft from Japan for maritime patrols in the South China Sea, the Southeast Asian nation’s President Benigno Aquino said Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — This announcement comes amid a heated dispute between Manila and Beijing over who should control dozens of small rocky islands and reefs in the waters west of Philippines, referred to as the West Philippine Sea in Manila.

"We will lease from Japan five TC- 90 training aircraft, which will help our Navy patrol our territory, particularly in the West Philippine Sea," the president said during his visit to the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City.

US Navy personnel looks at Philippine Navy vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz during the bilateral maritime exercise between the Philippine Navy and US Navy dubbed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 2014) aboard the USS John S. McCain in the South China Sea near waters claimed by Beijing on June 28, 2014 - Sputnik International
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The planes will reportedly be donated by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. The maritime-capable patrol planes will be an upgrade to the Philippine Air Force which commands a small air fleet.

China, Philippines and their neighbors – Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei – have numerous territorial disputes in the South China Sea. China claims the biggest part of the contested territories. Both Beijing and Manila lay claims to the Scarborough Shoal, which lies some 100 miles off Philippines.

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