Security Cooperation between US, PH, and Japan Progressing Well, says Marcos

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MANILA, Philippines: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed satisfaction with the progress of the security cooperation between the United States (US), the Philippines, and Japan. This trilateral partnership aims to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, including the South China Sea.

The President made these remarks during the farewell call of outgoing Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, in Malacañang on Friday. He emphasized that the Philippines and Japan have entered a new phase in their relationship, particularly in terms of defense and security, trade and investment, and infrastructure development during Koshikawa’s term.

“On the security side, much has been achieved. We are now talking about the cooperation between the United States (US), Japan, and the Philippines, and I think that’s proceeding very well,” Marcos said.

Maritime security remains a crucial area of cooperation between the Philippines, Japan, and the US. Both Japan and the US have consistently provided assistance and support to the Philippines in its stance on the South China Sea issue.

Similar to the Philippines, Japan also faces a maritime dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the Okinawa prefecture. The aggressive actions of Beijing in the West Philippine Sea have escalated during Marcos’ tenure, with Chinese boats ramming Philippine vessels and the Philippine Coast Guard being targeted with a water cannon.

Last week, President Marcos expressed concern over recent developments in the West Philippine Sea. These include the presence of the Chinese navy, interference in the Philippine Navy’s communication systems, and China’s installation of a floating barrier in the Scarborough Shoal.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mao Ning insisted that the Scarborough Shoal is part of Beijing’s territory and that China was “compelled to take necessary measures” due to Manila’s actions infringing on China’s sovereignty.

It is important to note that the Scarborough Shoal, which has been under China’s control for more than two decades, was declared by a 2016 arbitral award to be traditional fishing grounds for Filipino, Chinese, and Vietnamese fishers. However, Beijing, which claims nearly the entire South China Sea, has rejected the arbitral ruling.

The ongoing security cooperation between the Philippines, US, and Japan is a significant step towards maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. It demonstrates the commitment of these countries to upholding international law and ensuring the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

By working together, they aim to address the challenges posed by China’s assertiveness in the region. The cooperation not only strengthens the security ties among the three nations but also contributes to the overall security and stability of the Indo-Pacific.

It is crucial for countries in the international community to support and respect the rights of coastal states in accordance with international law. The Philippines, the US, and Japan, along with other nations, must continue to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation to promote peace, stability, and the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific.

As the security cooperation progresses, it is expected that further initiatives and joint efforts will be undertaken to address the evolving security challenges in the region. The partnership between the Philippines, US, and Japan serves as a beacon of hope for countries facing similar maritime disputes and emphasizes the importance of collaboration and unity in maintaining regional peace and stability.

Source: The Manila Times

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