A Japanese submarine and two destroyers have arrived to the major Philippine port of Subic located in the vicinity of the disputed South China Sea water routes, to uphold “peace and stability” in the region, the Philippine Navy have said.
Japanese submarine Oyashio along with the JS Ariake and JS Setogiri docked in the port 200 kilometers away from the waters in the South China Sea which are controlled by China, AFP reported. An anti-submarine helicopter is on board of the JS Ariake, the pictures taken by media outlets show.
“The visit is a manifestation of a sustained promotion of regional peace and stability and enhancement of maritime cooperation between neighboring navies,” Philippine Navy spokesman Cmdr. Lued Lincuna said.
The port of call took place right before US-Philippine 12-day joint drills begin on April 4, which are observed by many as a demonstration of the coalition’s military might. At the same time, China has expressed concern over any action taken against its water rights in the South China Sea.
Moreover, the Philippines aims to lease aircraft from Japan to patrol its claimed territories in the disputed waters in the South China Sea.
China claims the lion’s share of the South China Sea’s water area, colliding with such powers as Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. Beijing has repeatedly said that the Philippines and Vietnam have been using US support to escalate tensions in the region.
In 2013, the Philippines challenged Chinese claims on a row of territories in the sea at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, as Beijing refuted the possibility of resolving such trials in the international courts.