Philippine Coast Guard turns to Japan for more boats

The Philippine Coast Guard is increasingly turning to Japan in a push to beef up its presence in the South China Sea.

On Friday, Admiral Artemio Abu said his country will ask Japan for support in acquiring at least five large patrol vessels.

He said the plan would include assistance for the construction of a new headquarters, with a wharf exclusively for the boats.

Abu was speaking to reporters after meeting with Japan International Cooperation Agency President Tanaka Akihiko.

The Philippine Coast Guard has already received 12 Japanese patrol vessels to counter China's increasingly assertive activities in the region.

Chinese coast guard boats have in recent years blocked the passage of Philippine resupply boats.

Chinese fishing vessels have also moored inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is scheduled to visit Japan for the first time in February.

The two governments are expected to discuss ways to step up cooperation.