TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Japanese destroyer JS Ikazuchi (DD-107), arrived for a port call in Manila, marking what may be the beginning of increased cooperation between the two countries’ Navies.
Japan and the Philippines are planning series of joint military exercises in the South China Sea in order to strengthen ties and enhance regional security.
The JS Ikazuchi, with 220 crew members, is making a three day goodwill visit to the Philippines, the eighth such visit by a JMSDF vessel since 2016.
Captain Mardonio Navarro of the Philippine Navy is quoted by ABS-CBN News as stating that Japan and the Philippines are planning to take their bilateral relationship “to the next level.”
Echoing the call for closer naval ties, Captain Ryoko Azuma, the commander of the JMSDF’s Escort Division One, who is also the JMSDF’s female first squadron commander, said that joint exercises with the Philippines would “contribute to the regional stability.”
Without mentioning China, Azuma said the goodwill visit of the JS Ikazuchi, carries “no specific message to any nation,” but she emphasized that Japan will promote a “vision of freedom” and “an open ocean based on rules of international law and freedom of navigation.”