Japan: As of now, no talks on joint patrols with Australia, PH, US
There are still no talks as regards joint patrols in the South China Sea by Japan, Australia, the United States and the Philippines, the Japanese embassy in Manila has said.
The Japanese embassy made the statement after Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said, "meetings have already been set and probably may have the Japanese and the Australians join in."
Romualdez told Reuters that the countries "would like to join in for joint patrols to make sure that there's the code of conduct and there's freedom of navigation."
"As of now, there is no specific plan or discussion about the alleged 'joint patrol' among Japan, Philippines, US, and Australia," the Japanese embassy said.
"Japan will explore the possibility of cooperating with partners to reinforce Maritime Domain Awareness and the maritime law enforcement in the Indo-Pacific," it added.
The embassy adverted to the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement of Feb. 9 in which the country's leaders "welcomed deepening defense engagements through the participation of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in the Philippines-US joint exercises, and committed to further enhancement of defense exchanges through JP-PH-US trilateral dialogues." —Michaela del Callar/NB, GMA Integrated News