09:55 GMT19 January 2021
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    Japan has no current plans of patrolling the South China Sea together with the United States, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Friday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – US President Barack Obama urged China to halt construction activities on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday, speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Philippines.

    At a Thursday bilateral meeting with Obama held on the sidelines of the summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would consider sending the country’s maritime forces to assist US operations in the South China Sea.

    Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Friday that Japan had no particular plans to take part in US operations in the South China Sea, but was ready to support efforts aimed at ensuring security in the region.

    According to Suga, Japan is ready to provide assistance to the Philippines, Vietnam and other regional states by conducting joint naval drills with the United States.

    The United States has repeatedly warned it does not recognize Chinese claims of sovereignty over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

    China has been constructing artificial bases on Spratly Islands coral reef habitats over the past year. The archipelago encompasses over 750 islands and reefs. Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the Spratlys and a 12-nautical-mile zone surrounding the islands. Overall, China claims over 80 percent of the South China Sea as its own.

    Countries located in the South China Sea area, including the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, have expressed competing claims to the disputed Spratly Islands.


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