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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Japan China ‘toe to toe’ in South China Sea

Tokyo for the first time exports Self Defense Forces equipment to the Philippines amid tensions in disputed waters of South China Sea as Beijing tightens its grip in the region.

Japan has expressed “grave concern” against “unilateral attempts” by China to “change” the status quo in the East China Sea as well as in the South China Sea.

The concern was conveyed by Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at the ongoing Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers meeting in the UK capital London, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, according to Tokyo-based Kyodo News.

Resources-rich South China Sea is a cause of concern among the bordering nations with China, which claims most of its maritime jurisdiction over it.

Read more: US, Japan show unity against China in Biden’s first summit

Motegi added Japan was “concerned” about Beijing’s handling of human rights in connection with the Muslim Uyghur minority in its northwestern Xinjiang province as well as the situation in Hong Kong.

The G-7 group, which includes the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US, as well as the EU, also discussed the situation in Myanmar which has witnessed widespread anti-coup demonstrations since early February.

Meanwhile, Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have started providing the Philippines Armed Forces (PAF) with life-saving equipment adopted.

It is the first that Japan has offered SDF equipment to any foreign armed force under its official development assistance. The moves came amid strained ties between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea.

Japan under a $1.1-million deal will deliver disaster-relief tools, including jackhammers, sonars, and engine cutters among others to the PAF. The SDF personnel will train the PAF units for the use of the equipment.

Read more: Arming against China: Japan to host first joint military drill with US, France

“We hope the provision of the aid will deepen bilateral relations with the strategically important regional partner,” an unnamed Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk