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Iran Press TV

Japan, Philippines to stage joint naval drill

Iran Press TV

Sun May 10, 2015 5:47PM

Japan and the Philippines are planning to hold a joint naval drill in the South China Sea, military sources in the Philippines say.

The Philippines' navy chief, Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, said in Manila on Sunday that the exercise would be held in South China Sea waters near Subic Bay.

Millan add that the joint exercise, which will begin on Tuesday, will also practice on-ship helicopter operations and cross-deck training.

The top military official noted that the May 12 maritime safety exercise will practice the code for unplanned encounters at sea. The code, known as CUES, is part of an agreement signed by Japan and the Philippines in January aimed at tightening security cooperation.

"This is a port call, a regular port call of the Japanese navy and while they are here, it would be good if we can practice this code of unplanned encounters at sea," media outlets quoted Millan as saying.

Sources say the Japanese destroyers, Harusame and Amigiri, had already arrived at the Manila South Harbor with 600 sailors on board.

Navy spokesman, Commander Lued Lincuna, said Saturday the drill will be held far from Huangyan Island, a scene of standoff between the Chinese ships and the Philippines' vessels in 2012.

China has long been locked in a dispute over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of minerals, oil and gas.

The Philippines has expressed concern over Beijing's assertion of sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea. The United States has recently increased its annual military aid to the Philippines and conducted joint military drills.

Beijing has frequently warned the United States to be cautious in its words and deeds with regard to territorial disputes involving China and its neighbors.

JR/HJL/SS



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