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Japan's largest warship visits Sri Lanka
« on: October 04, 2018, 07:58:30 AM »
Japan's largest warship visits Sri Lanka
Oct. 2    06:00 am JST
By Tim Kelly

Japanís largest warship, the Kaga helicopter carrier, sailed into Sri Lanka's Colombo harbor this past weekend, marking Tokyo's highest profile salvo in a diplomatic battle with China for influence along the region's vital commercial sea lanes.

Japan has long provided low-interest loans and aid to Sri Lanka, helping it transform Colombo into a major trans-shipment port tapping the artery of global trade just south of the island that links Europe and the Middle East with Asia.

Beijing has, however, emerged as a powerful rival across South Asia and beyond as it implements its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

Both China and Japan are also flexing their military muscles further from home. China's navy is increasingly venturing beyond the Western Pacific and into the Indian Ocean as it targets a world-class blue water fleet by 2050, while Japan's military diplomacy is flourishing under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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