JS AKEBONO Joins Quadrilateral Exercise in West Philippine Sea

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By Monsi A. Serrano

The first-ever joint Maritime Quadrilateral Exercise in the West Philippine Sea on April 7, 2024, wherein Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) deploys JS AKEBONO with the U.S. Navy, Australian Navy and Air Force and Philippine Navy is part of the Philippines-US-Australia-Japan Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) in the South China Sea.

While China’s aggression remains unabated, envoys clarified that the maritime exercise is aimed at fostering peace and regional stability and free and open navigation that Japan has been advocating for just like other like-minded leaders since the Philippines won in 2016 the International Law Arbitral Award on the territorial dispute. Japan has been a staunch supporter of the Philippines in various cooperations.

The MCA, which runs from April 6-7, aims to enhance regional maritime security cooperation among the four countries, and promote freedom of navigation towards the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Various tactical trainings will also be held including anti-submarine warfare training, tactical exercise, link exercise (LINKEX) and photo exercise (PHOTOEX).

In a joint statement released by the Defense Heads of the Philippines, U.S. Australia and Japan, Japan’s Minister of Defense KIHARA Minoru underscores the importance of cooperating with like-minded countries to ensure regional peace and stability. Furthermore, they also reiterated their call to China to respect for the international rule of law.

But China despite one of the signatories of UNCLOS still takes the decision of Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague favoring the Philippines on the award as illegal, null and void. They do not want to accept or recognize it, based on the repeated statement of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, decided that the sweeping claims and historical ownership of China in the South China Sea that Beijing calls as nine-dash line based on history has no legal basis.

Many countries in the region, as well as in Europe and America support the Philippines on its call to respect the international rule of law to maintain peace and stability in the region and hope for prosperity for all the countries.

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