Peace and Freedom

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Japan’s presence in what it considers international waters may be seen by Beijing as tacit support for ownership claims made by the Philippines

Associated Press in Puerto Princesa, Philippines

A Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force P-3C patrol plane takes off from an airport in Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island in the western Philippines on Tuesday, to participate in joint exercises with Philippine forces in the face of China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. Photo: Kyodo

A tiny military exercise in the Philippines this week may presage something much bigger: the entry of Japan into the tussle for control of the South China Sea.

A Japanese surveillance plane and about 20 troops conducted the first of two days of joint training with the Philippine navy on Tuesday off the coast of Palawan, a strategically important island not far from contested islands claimed by several countries including China and the…

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