“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.
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.