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Japan to lease 5 warplanes to PH

Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

JAPAN will lease five military aircraft to the Philippines in another sign of deepening security ties between the two strategic partners.

The move, which is seen as a counterweight to China’s growing military dominance in the Asian region, will start within the year, Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez said on Tuesday.

In a statement, Galvez said that Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani made the commitment in a telephone call to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at around 4 p.m. on Monday.

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“Nakatani reaffirmed the transfer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force TC-90 aircraft which will be useful for humanitarian assistance, disaster response and maritime security,” said Galvez, but declined to reveal the cost of leasing the five trainer planes.

The planes, which will help in the training of pilots and aircraft mechanics, are also being eyed as surveillance aircraft.

This is the first time that Japan will be leasing military aircraft to another country after it lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports.

During the phone conversation, the two defense officials reiterated their mutual commitment to continue working together.

Nakatani stressed that the two countries’ bilateral relationship was crucial for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Galvez said that the two defense chiefs also agreed that bilateral cooperation was indispensable to both countries.

“(They) discussed how to enhance relations by strengthening communications, deepening exchanges and (providing) educational opportunities,” said Galvez. With a report from AFP

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TAGS: China, Features, Global Nation, Japan, West Philippine Sea
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