Washington, Aug 20: Japan will extend financial help of $500 million for the coastal states in the Indo-Pacific region in the three years with an intention to boost maritime security. This was disclosed by the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, reported news agency Kyodo.
The step was apparently in response to China’s aggressive pursuit of extensive maritime claims.
Kono made the announcement during a joint news conference after a meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of Japan and the United States in Washington.
A Japanese Foreign Ministry official said separately that aid recipients include the Philippines and Vietnam, both of which are embroiled in territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea.
With the aid, Japan hopes to help recipients procure patrol vessels and coast guard equipment, as well as conduct personnel training, so as to improve their surveillance and law-enforcement capabilities, the official told reporters.
Kono said Japan will expand cooperation with the United States in the area of capacity building for developing Asian countries, mainly in Southeast Asia.
“We agreed that Japan and the United States will closely cooperate in ensuring economic development of this region with transparency,” he said.
Kono also said Japan will further increase security and defence cooperation with Australia, India, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries.