Japan, Philippines pledge to further strengthen security ties

Tokyo, May 16 (EFE).- Japan and the Philippines pledged Tuesday to continue strengthening their cooperation in security and economic matters, during a meeting in Tokyo between Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his counterpart Enrique Manalo.

Hayashi and Manalo spoke of the “rapid implementation of both bilateral and trilateral cooperation projects,” which also include the United States, and in line with what was agreed during the February visit to Japan by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Japan’s foreign ministry said.

In particular, the ministers said they had made “stable progress” for the transfer of defense equipment and in the area of economic cooperation and development aid.

Among the agreements between Marcos and Kishida was extensive Japanese financial aid for infrastructure construction, as well as a pact to allow Japan to send its army to the Philippines to offer humanitarian assistance in the case of natural or human disasters.

In the area of security, they also agreed on guidelines expected to provide a first step toward a future bilateral treaty that allows the organization of joint military maneuvers or stays of their respective troops in each other’s territories, known as a reciprocal access agreement.

Hayashi also presented to Manalo the foreign ministers meeting results of G7 countries in Karuizawa last month, in which they prepared the summit their leaders will hold Friday to Sunday in Hiroshima, Japan.

The Japanese foreign minister specifically addressed the strategy for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” as Tokyo calls its joint plan with Washington to counter the rise of China in this region.

Manalo said he appreciated that the Japanese presidency of the group has incorporated “the perspective of the Indo-Pacific and areas of interest for countries outside the G7” in the preparation for the Hiroshima summit, the Japanese ministry said.

The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on issues of common interest such as “the situation in the East and South China seas, economic coercion, the situation in Ukraine and how to deal with North Korea.” EFE


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