NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Philippine Coast Guard Collaborates with U.S. and Japan on Ship Maintenance Drills
By Sea and Coast | 28/08/2023
Japan and U.S. Strengthen Maritime Security Cooperation with Philippines Amid South China Sea Disputes
Japan and the U.S. are intensifying their collaboration on maritime security with the Philippines, offering assistance in patrol boat maintenance and engaging in joint training exercises. These efforts come as the Philippines grapples with territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea.
Joint support exercises commenced on Monday, involving the American and Japanese coast guards aiding the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in developing a maintenance manual for patrol vessels. Some details of these exercises were shared with the media.
Throughout the exercises, which will continue until Friday, Japan and the U.S. will utilize a docked ship in Manila Bay to elucidate maintenance systems and key inspection points.
Previously, Japan provided the Philippines with a substantial patrol boat. However, a lack of maintenance expertise can hinder the vessel's operational continuity. A PCG member participating in the training underscored the importance of learning from a comprehensive manual that outlines maintenance requirements and necessary tools.
Hiroaki Onodera, dispatched by the Japan Coast Guard as an expert from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, expressed hope that the joint support efforts would amalgamate the strengths of both Japanese and U.S. approaches. He emphasized that this collaboration should lead to improvements in vessel utilization rates and lifespan.
Japan and the U.S. have demonstrated their collaborative support for the PCG, marked by their inaugural trilateral exercises in June.
The escalation of tensions on August 6 was triggered when a Chinese Coast Guard ship deployed water cannons against a Philippine vessel, prompting condemnations from Japan, the U.S., and Europe against Beijing's actions. China has exhibited further assertive maritime behavior, such as seizing floating cargo towed by a Philippine ship and temporarily using lasers to blind PCG crew members.
China and Vietnam have undertaken measures to reclaim and militarize areas of the South China Sea, including the Spratly and Paracel islands.
Defense cooperation also advances as Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force revealed conducting joint training with the Philippine Navy, U.S. Navy, and the Royal Australian Navy and Air Force in waters near Manila. The participation of a Japanese Izumo-class destroyer alongside other naval assets from various countries showcased this collaboration.
Vice Adm. Akira Saito, commander in chief of Japan's Self-Defense Fleet, highlighted the benefits of using the U.S. as a hub to facilitate idea exchange and relationship building. He conveyed these insights during a press conference held aboard a Japanese destroyer, which made its inaugural port call in Manila.
The deepening alignment between Japan, the U.S., and the Philippines is poised to influence discussions between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) concerning South China Sea matters. In July, China and ASEAN established guidelines for formulating a code of conduct to prevent inadvertent conflicts in the region.