Japan to help Manila to stop pirates
Japan will build four coast guard radar stations on islands in the Sulu Celebes Seas separating the Philippines and Indonesia to help Manila counter a surge in piracy by Islamic insurgents, two sources say.
An agreement to fund the facilities and provide training to local coast guard personnel may be signed as early next week by Japanese Prime Minister and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, the sources said on Friday.
"The seas in that area are an important waterway for merchant ships travelling to Japanese ports," one of the people with knowledge of the plan said.Powerful winds raise California fire risk
Of 30 acts of piracy reported in the first half of 2017 six involved the use of guns, of which three were crew abductions from ships underway in the Sulu Celebes Seas, according to the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). Four attempted abductions in the waters were also logged.
"Japan is aware of the need to counter piracy in the region and is keen to help, but we can't discuss individual projects," said an official at Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which overseas ODA spending.
The radar stations are part of a wider aid package that include helicopter parts for the Philippines military, financing for infrastructure projects such as rail lines and help to rebuild conflict-torn southern Marawi city after five months of military operations against Islamic State rebels.Exiled king's remains reburied in Italy
Tokyo is aiming to deepen economic and security ties with Manila as it looks to contain China's growing power. Japan sees the Philippines, which lies on the eastern side of the South China Sea, as a key ally in helping prevent Beijing's influence spreading into the western Pacific.