Japan to supply chopper parts for Philippines military

TOKYO: Japan’s army will give thousands of helicopter parts to keep Philippine military choppers airborne, helping Tokyo gain clout with Manila in a contest with China to secure influence over the strategic South China Sea nation, four sources said.
Military diplomacy is a new means for Japan to confound China’s bid for control in the bitterly contested South China Sea as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks a regional military role amid a retreat from decades of state pacifism.
The pact could be the first in a series of similar deals as Tokyo cranks up defence diplomacy with Southeast Asian nations eager for hand-me-down patrol aircraft, ships and other military equipment.
“This is a demonstration of the robust strategic partnership and cooperation of the two allies,” a senior Philippine Air Force commander said, adding that Japan would deliver around 40,000 parts under the deal.
The value of the parts could not be determined. The supply agreement will be Japan’s first military aid deal since lawmakers scrapped a rule in June barring giveaways of surplus military kit to other countries.
— Reuters