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International relations

Japan seeks balance with China in seas around Sri Lanka

Tokyo's bilateral ties with Colombo grow as Beijing flexes maritime muscles

Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and coast guard ships have been making frequent port calls to Colombo since 2009. (Courtesy Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence)

COLOMBO -- Japan and Sri Lanka are celebrating 65 years of diplomatic relations this year, but their bilateral ties have rarely seemed more important -- especially in relation to maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

The two countries launched a dialogue on maritime security and other oceanic issues in January, following a 1.83 billion yen ($16.3 million) aid package from Japan in June 2016 designed to boost Sri Lanka's maritime security and crime-fighting capacity.

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