South China Sea
Japan just made a port call in the Philippines, in a sign of support to the country as it hedges its bets against China's territorial ambitions. Defense News reports that Japan sent two destroyers, the JS Ariake and JS Setogiri, and a submarine, the Oyashio, to Subic Bay on Sunday. The visit marks increasing cooperation between the two countries as both are locked in disputes with China over its claims to islands in the region. The visit also marks the growing importance of the Philippines as a base for operations in the South China Sea. The U.S. recently signed a deal with Manilla that gives U.S. forces access to five bases in the country, marking a return to the country since it closed down the U.S. Navy base at Subic Bay in the early 1990s.