Japan, Philippines Strengthen Security Ties Amid China Concerns | National policy

By MARI YAMAGUCHI – Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — The defense ministers of Japan and the Philippines agreed Thursday to boost security cooperation and expand joint exercises between their forces as they shared concerns about growing military actions. most assertive of China in the region.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana also shared their concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact in the Indo-Pacific, and noted that any attempt to change the status quo by force is unacceptable, Japan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that avoided identifying China by name.

Japan has greatly expanded joint exercises with the United States and other partners, including Australia, India, France, Britain and Germany, which share its concerns about the assertion by the China of its territorial claims in the region, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Japan is particularly concerned about Chinese military and coastguard activity in the East China Sea near the Japanese-held Senkaku Islands, which China claims and also calls Diaoyu.

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On Thursday, Japan’s Defense Ministry said it spotted a Chinese Y-9 electronic warfare plane flying over the Sakishima Islands, although it did not violate Japanese airspace.

Kishi and Lorenzana also agreed to increase cooperation in defense equipment and technology transfer between the two countries. Tokyo and Manila reached an agreement in 2020 on the Japanese export of airborne radar systems to the Philippine army.

For Japan, the Philippines is geopolitically important as China increases its influence in the region.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have been locked in an increasingly tense territorial standoff in the busy waterway for decades.

The defense ministers will be joined by each country’s foreign ministers on Saturday for the first “two plus two” security talks between the two countries.

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