Fumio Kishida stated: “We share serious concerns on the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea. The attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force is unacceptable.”
Beijing has been increasingly assertive towards the region due to territorial disputes, the New York Times reports. The Japanese archipelago is in the East China Sea while the Philippines are in the South China Sea right beside Taiwan which China seeks to reclaim by force.
Kishida met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines in Manila for two days to discuss the alliance. The agreement would give Tokyo access to Philippine military bases so the countries could conduct joint drills.
Japan and the Philippines began initial discussions of stronger military alliances in 2015. However recent growing aggression from China has ignited the two to take urgent action. The meeting between the two leaders marks Kashida’s first trip to the Philippines since he took office in 2021.
He plans to give $4 million worth of coastal radar systems to the Philippines to improve their Navy’s capabilities, he said, as part of Japan’s official security assistance program. They have previously provided Manila with coast guard vessels, satellite communications systems and air surveillance radars.
Marcos stated the pact would help maintain “peace and stability in our region.”
Japanese soldiers, along with some American troops, were in the Philippines conducting joint military drills.
The training includes "coastal defense training and amphibious operations between marine troops of the Philippines, US, Japan and South Korea aimed at improving multinational military readiness, partnership, and mutual capabilities," The Philippine Star reports.