Philippines hosts naval weapons trade fair

The Philippines is hosting its first naval equipment trade fair at a base near Manila.

The fair comes at a time when the Philippines is building up its naval capabilities, as China has been increasing its territorial maritime activity. The two nations are in a dispute over islands in the South China Sea.

The 3-day event began on Thursday at the base where the Philippine Fleet is headquartered. About 50 defense-related firms from the Philippines and abroad are taking part.

Items on display include replicas of state-of-the-art surface vessels, submarines and anti-ship missiles. The weapons are produced by an India-Russia joint venture, French and South Korean firms, and other entities.

Sales staff provided explanations to Filipino military officials at the venue.

The deputy commander of the Philippine Fleet suggested a plan to acquire the country's first submarines. The officer said the Philippine Navy is promoting its capabilities in waters far from the country.

The Navy plans to hold a joint exercise with its counterparts from other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from Friday, apparently to keep China in check.