The May 12 maritime safety exercise, which will practice the code for unplanned encounters at sea, known as CUES, is part of an agreement signed by Japan and the Philippines in January aimed at tightening security cooperation.
The nature of the training is unlikely to worry
unduly, as it has conducted similar exercises with the
in the past. United States
But the presence of Japanese naval vessels in the South China Sea signals
Japan's growing interest in the region, and may
as criticism of its land reclamation projects there mounts. Beijing
"The exercise will not be far from Scarborough Shoal," one of the sources in
Japan said, referring to a rocky outcrop which China seized in 2012 after a three-month
standoff with the . Philippines
The two-hour practice within
territorial waters near Subic Bay, a former U.S.
navy base, will involve a Japanese warship and a navy frigate, a
spokesman at the Philippines Navy said. Philippines
A spokesman for
Maritime Self Defense Force declined to comment. Japan
China, which claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mile) South China Sea, is asserting its territorial claims by building a chain of man-made islands on coral reefs in the Spratly archipelago.
Malaysia, Brunei and also claim large parts of
the sea. Vietnam
Recent satellite images show
is reclaiming land around seven reefs in the Spratlys, and is building what
appears to be an airstrip on one of the artificial islands. China
Although it has no territorial claims in the South China Sea,
is worried that 's
domination of the region could give it control of international waterways
through which a significant portion of Japanese trade travels. Beijing
Japan's military is considering joining the United States in maritime air patrols in the South China Sea as a counterweight to growing Chinese power, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters last month.
That strategy, which is being encouraged by thehttp://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/09/15/japan-ph-hold-first-naval-drill-south-china-sea-sources
is spurring closer security ties between Manila
Their defense agreement in January also established regular vice-ministerial
defense talks and exchanges of senior officers. Tokyo