Japanese Warship Visits Philippines, Sending Message to China

Philippines, Subic Bay Freeport Zone : Japanese helicopter carrier Ise is towed as it prepares to dock at the former US naval base, Subic port, north of Manila on April 26, 2016. Ise (DDH 182), which is in the Philippines for a four-day goodwill visit, marking a third time Japanese …

The Japanese destroyer Ise made port in Subic Bay on Tuesday, paying a training visit to the Philippines, and sending an unmistakable message to China.

The Ise’s visit “marked the second time in just over three weeks that Japanese naval vessels visited Subic, a former major US naval base that lies around 200km from a Chinese-controlled shoal,” reports the Straits Times.

Captain Masaki Takada “declined to say whether the Ise had been in contact with Chinese naval vessels during its voyage,” but his ship’s presence sent the kind of message that does not require a radio to receive.

Every other power along the South China Sea finds itself at odds with Chinese territorial claims, so they have a keen interest in strengthening ties and presenting a unified front to Beijing. Toward that end, Russia’s Sputnik News observed the Ise has “U.S. officers as well as service personnel from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states aboard.”

The Straits Times reports that Japan has “agreed to supply the Philippines with military hardware, which officials said may include anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and radar technology.”

Update Philippines reports the Ise is scheduled to remain until April 29, conducting navigational training and giving Japanese naval personnel an opportunity to “engage with their Filipino counterparts.”