The Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to have a submarine make a port call in the Philippines’ Subic Bay next month, a Defense Ministry source said Sunday.
While the voyage is aimed at training submariners and fostering goodwill, Tokyo is keen to help Southeast Asian countries improve their surveillance capabilities in the South China Sea to counter China’s militarization of the region.
The plan is for the sub and two destroyers to set sail later this month, the source said. They are scheduled to cross the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines and dock at Subic Bay, north of Manila, in April, the source said.
The destroyers will then proceed to make a port call in Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.
The government is also considering leasing a number of MSDF TC-90 training aircraft to the Philippines, government sources said.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea but is facing competing territorial claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.