Monday, June 17, 2024

Japan to join U.S.-Philippine joint exercise in South China Sea | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis

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Japan plans to take part in a joint training exercise with the United States and the Philippines in the South China Sea this year, at the earliest, government sources said, in response to China’s growing naval presence in the region.

The proposed naval drill is expected to win the backing of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during the first-ever three-nation summit in Washington on April 11, the sources said.

Kishida, Biden and Marcos are expected to agree to upgrade trilateral security cooperation on a par with Japan, the United States and South Korea.

As part of efforts to reinforce the merits of three-way security cooperation, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force will take part in the joint training exercise or patrol activity that the U.S. and Philippine militaries are planning to conduct in the South China Sea, the sources said.

Tokyo and Washington have been strengthening security ties with Manila since Marcos, who champions strong relations with the United States, came to power in June 2022.

Coast guards from the three countries held a joint training exercise in June of last year.

Japan plans to upgrade the status of the Philippines to “quasi-ally,” similar to Britain and Australia.

Kishida agreed to provide coastal surveillance radar equipment to the Philippine military under Japan’s official security assistance program when he met with Marcos in Manila last November.

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