Japan and the Philippines have begun talks for the transfer of two large coast guard ships to Manila, to help patrol the disputed South China Sea, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Friday, as part of a deal on defense equipment.
The two brand-new 90-metre (295-ft) multi-role response vessels will be in addition to ten 44-metre (144-ft) mid-sized coast guard ships, worth 8.8 billion pesos ($188.52 million) that Japan is set to start delivering next week.
“Both governments are looking into the possibility of getting two more vessels, this time the bigger ones,” Masato Ohtaka, deputy spokesman of Japan’s foreign ministry, told journalists in Manila.
“We’re in the middle of dialogue between the two sides, they are still discussing details and we need a little more time.”
The ship delivery figured in an 80-minute meeting between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday in southern Davao City.
“We talked about how Japan can help the Philippines in capacity building, particularly with regards to maritime security,” Ohtaka added. (Reuters)