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Japan pledges support for Philippines as both countries confront China over disputed islands

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged support for Philippine maritime forces as both countries confront China in separate territorial disputes.

Following a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III Saturday, Abe announced that Japan will provide a concessional loan to build 10 coast guard patrol boats for the Philippines.

Aquino says the two reviewed security challenges both countries are facing and promised to cooperate to push for what he calls responsible action from international players in a reference to China.

Abe says a key element of Japan's efforts to revive the economy and promote regional peace and security lies in closer relations with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

ASEAN includes the Philippines and Vietnam, both of which have disputes with China in the South China Sea.