MANILA, Philippines - The Japanese government allegedly plans to give patrol ships to the Philippines to strengthen its defense against China amid their territorial row, a report from South Korea said Thursday.
The vessels, which include 1,000-ton patrol ships, will be delivered by yearend, according to a Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) report.
KBS based its report on a story published by Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The South Korean media company, the biggest television network in the country, said the handover of patrol ships is being made possible by Japan's decision to ease the Three Principles of Arms Export law that prevents Tokyo from selling its weapons abroad.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the Japanese government wants to help boost Manila's maritime safety capabilities in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippine and Japanese governments have yet to confirm the report.
Wescom up for modernization
Meanwhile, Armed Forces chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa on Thursday said the Western Command (Wescom), which oversees security over the West Philipppine Sea, will be given priority in the military's ongoing modernization program.
Dellosa, who was at the Wescom headquarters in Puerto Princesa City, said the command is now the main concern of the Armed Forces because of issues in the West Philippine Sea, according to Wescom chief Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban.
"In terms of capabilities and facilities, we are now the priority in the modernization or upgrade," Sabban said.
"To me, it's just in consonance with the national policy of the President that we should prepare ourselves and we should be able to protect our sovereignty and territory," he added.
Sabban said the priority equipment that Dellosa cited include frigates, reconnaissance planes, and radar.
He said bad weather prevented the Armed Forces chief from going to Pagasa Island in the Spratlys.