Japan Prime Minister raises South China Sea concerns with Duterte


Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga brings up his worries about China’s Coast Guard Law and expresses support for the Hague ruling won by the Philippines against China

China’s controversial Coast Guard Law and the 2016 Hague ruling won by the Philippines against Beijing were discussed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a phone call on Wednesday evening, May 19.

The phone call was initiated by Suga and lasted 20 minutes, according to MalacaƱang.

Both MalacaƱang’s and the Japanese embassy’s notes about the phone conversation between the two leaders mentioned China as a major topic of the discussion.

According to the Japanese embassy, Suga brought up his “grave concerns about recent developments in China, including the Coast Guard Law.”

He also expressed opposition to the “continued and strengthened unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.”

China’s Coast Guard law, passed in January, allows its Coast Guard to use armed force against anyone found in Beijing-claimed waters. The Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against it, with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. calling the law a “verbal threat of war.” The Philippine Navy also deployed more ships to the West Philippine Sea in response to the law.