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Japan, Philippines agree to boost defence ties amid China tension

February 11, 2023 00:00:00

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) shakes hands with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on Thursday — AFP

TOKYO, Feb 10 (Al Jazeera): The leaders of Japan and the Philippines have agreed to increase defence ties, allowing Japanese troops greater access to Philippine territory.

The defence arrangement signed by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday will allow Japanese troops to join training exercises to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian needs in the Philippines.

The agreement is seen as a step towards broader military cooperation between Tokyo and Manila and could lead to similar agreements between Japan and other nations in Southeast Asia where competition for geopolitical influence has increased amid a more assertive Chinese presence in the region.

Kishida said the countries will continue talks to further strengthen and streamline their militaries’ joint exercises and other operations, while seeking also to expand the transfer of Japanese defence equipment and technology to the Philippines as well as strengthening cooperation trilaterally with the United States.

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