Japan and the Philippines sign a pact on mutual military deployment


Japan and Philippines’ defense pact signed on Monday seeks to counter China’s increasing aggression in the region and create deterrence that goes beyond reliance on the U.S., experts told CNBC.

Japan and the Philippines sign a pact on mutual military deployment
The “Reciprocal Access Agreement,” which comes against the backdrop of tensions between the Philippines and China over the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, allows exchange of armed forces for training and joint military exercises between Tokyo and Manila.

The deal was signed in Manila by Philippine Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa in the presence of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.

The partnership between the Philippines and Japan had been “upgraded one level higher,” Teodoro said.

“This is another milestone in our shared endeavor to ensure a rules-based international order to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and particularly in our region,” he added.

“Both countries have maritime territorial disputes with China, and they are facing increasingly assertive and aggressive Chinese naval forces,” said Rahman Yaacob, research fellow in the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute.

Amid tensions with China, both Japan and the Philippines have been increasing cooperation with the U.S.

In the latest escalation, Chinese Coast Guards last month seized and damaged two Philippine ships and injured military personnel on a resupply run to an outpost on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, according to Philippine officials.

Japan and the U.S. were among the first countries to condemn Beijing’s actions. China claimed it was simply defending its sovereignty.

According to experts, the Japanese and Philippine partnership was also likely drawn up with Taiwan — a self-governing Island and U.S. partner that Beijing considers its territory — in mind.

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