|HMAS Adelaide and her escorts leave Sydney for Exercises|
By Noel Tarrazona
Three major countries in the Asia Pacific region are expected to continue to make their naval presence felt in the South China Sea amid the Philippine’s softening sovereignty stance in the disputed waters.
Australia, Japan and India are all making moves in the region at a time when the Philippines is softening its stance, collaborating with China in oil and gas exploration and accepting the increasing presence of Chinese vessels within its exclusive economic zone.
Tokyo has just announced that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an exclusive security meeting with India’s leader Narendra Modi to finalize a maritime security cooperation deal in response to the growing naval presence of China in the South China Sea.
With this development, the Indian external affairs ministry along with Japan’s counterpart met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in New York to discuss how to assert the freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the global maritime.
Earliser this year, Japan has sent a helicopter-carrying warship into the South China Sea after making a port call in Vietnam, and the ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore has noted that Japan plans to continue to deploy low-key patrols in Southeast Asia waters. Institute analyst Le Hong Hiep says that India is also looking at Vietnam as its entry point for establishing presence in the South China Sea.
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