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Japan’s prime minister tours Philippine patrol ship and boosts alliances amid maritime tensions

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Japan’s prime minister has toured a Philippine patrol ship in a symbolic show of support as Tokyo shores up regional alliances to counter China’s assertiveness in maritime disputes with its neighbors. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the Japanese-built vessel, which was docked at the Manila harbor, capped his two-day visit to Manila. He held talks with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday to strengthen defense ties amid their countries’ shared concern over China’s behavior. Japan has provided a dozen patrol ships to the Philippines in recent years, Manila’s coast guard largely uses the ships for sovereignty patrols and to transport supplies and rotating navy and marine personnel to nine Philippines-occupied island, islets and reefs in the strategic South China Sea.

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