Manila: Philippine President Benigno Aquino asked his visiting counterpart from South Korean on Monday for aircraft, boats and other hardware to help boost his country's military, amid rising tensions with China.

Aquino said he and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak discussed their respective regional security concerns, which for Philippines was the situation in the disputed South China Sea where China has been accused of bullying.

"On defence cooperation, I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain some specific defence articles such as military-grade helicopters, boats, and aircrafts," Aquino said in a joint forum.

"This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernisation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines."

Lee did not disclose any response to the specific request but said South Korea wanted to cooperate with the Philippines to resolve its maritime problems.

"We agreed that we will continue to work together so that we can peacefully resolve this issue according to international rule, norms, and standards," said Lee, who is on a three-day visit to the Philippines.

Aquino has this year begun upgrading the Philippines' military, which is one of the weakest in the region with its navy made up of mostly World War II-era ships and its air force consisting of Vietnam War-vintage planes.

He has said the Philippines needs to be able to defend its claims to waters and islands of the South China Sea, amid rising tensions with China.

China and Taiwan claim all of the South China Sea in full, while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have claims to parts of the area that is believed to hold vast oil and gas deposits.

The Philippines has accused the Chinese military of aggressive acts in the Philippine-claimed areas of the sea this year including firing on Filipino fishermen, laying buoys and harassing an oil exploration vessel.