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Asia's First Japanese Partnership: Japan-Philippines Sign Defense Pact Amid Concerns Over China

Asia's First Japanese Partnership: Japan-Philippines Sign Defense Pact Amid Concerns Over China
Credit: AFP

Japan and the Philippines have signed a new defense pact that will allow the deployment of Japanese forces to the Philippines for joint exercises, including live-fire drills. The agreement marks a significant step in strengthening security ties between the two countries amid growing concerns over China's aggression in the region.

Despite Japan's brutal occupation of the Philippines during World War II, the two countries are now united against the common threat of China.

The agreement was signed by Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa. The Reciprocal Access Agreement must be ratified by the legislatures of both countries before it can take effect.

The defense pact with the Philippines is a significant milestone for Japan, as it is the first of its kind in Asia. As part of this effort, Japan plans to double its defense spending over five years to 2027, with the goal of strengthening its military capabilities and becoming the world's third largest military spender after the United States and China.

Although many of Japan's Asian neighbors, including the Philippines, have a dark history with Japan due to its World War II aggression, defense and security ties between the two countries continue to grow stronger.

Under President Marcos Jr., the Philippines is forging a security alliance with Japan to bolster its limited defense capabilities in the face of China's increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is a vital maritime route for global trade, with China claiming nearly all of it, despite competing claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

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