JAPAN has said it is ready to protect the Philippines with its security needs and keep the South China Sea open for free passage of ships and goods.
The Philippines’ ambassador to Japan, Jose Laurel V, noted the country has agreed to give 10 coastguard ships and other defence assets to Manila, according to the Philippine Star. Mr Laurel explained the importance of keeping shipping lanes open. He added Japan admires President Rodrigo Duterte and his “fascinating leadership”.
Mr Laurel said: “When the Japanese go south, what is the first country they will reach there? The Philippines. So Japan is a trading country.
“It survives on selling manufactured goods to the world. They have to keep the shipping lanes open.
“So their only way out is towards the south, keep the east Indian Ocean alive and get to Europe. If they want to get to US, then they have to travel towards the west coast of the US.
“You must remember that because we are very intimate friends, Japan greatly also depends on the Philippines.