Philippines needs strong ties with allies: President Marcos

In December, the United States, Japan and the Philippines vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation following China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

Jean P. Mangaluz and Jerome Aning

Jean P. Mangaluz and Jerome Aning

Philippine Daily Inquirer


President Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands after witnessing the exchange of memorandum of cooperation between the Philippines and Japan on Sunday. PHOTO: MALACANANG/ PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

December 18, 2023

MANILA – President Marcos has underscored the significance of the Philippines forging both bilateral and multilateral ties with other countries in response to current needs.

In a conversation with members of the Japanese media here, Mr. Marcos was asked how Tokyo and Manila have grown in their relationship over the past decades, to which the President replied, “through increased collaboration.”

“This alliance that we have come together with Japan is again to help us work together more closely. Because in the military, since there is a tactical operation … we really have to train with one another,” he explained.

“It is not sufficient actually with just Japan and the Philippines to enter into this agreement. We really must get more of these [kinds] of arrangements in place,” he added.

According to the Palace, Mr. Marcos is referring to the Philippines’ trilateral agreement with Japan and the United States.

Strengthen cooperation

In December, the United States, Japan and the Philippines vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation following China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

Apart from this, the Philippines is also a recipient of Japan’s Official Security Assistance (OSA).

In November, the Philippines received an OSA grant worth P235 million for a coastal radar system. The security grant came amid increasing tensions in the West Philippine Sea, with China’s aggressive incursion and intimidation within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Mr. Marcos attended the primary day of the 50th Commemorative Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Summit.

In his intervention, the President called for collective action amid the intercontinental ballistic missile tests by North Korea, the worsening violence in Myanmar, and what he described as “unilateral actions” in the East and South China Seas.

‘Trust based on deeds’

“We cannot overemphasize that trust is the basis of peace, a trust based on deeds and not merely words, especially on a geopolitical environment increasingly characterized by disruptions, by violation to the international rule of law, as we face common yet complex challenges together,” Mr. Marcos said.

The President also lauded Japan for being Asean’s trusted, constant and reliable partner in maritime security and cooperation and humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR).

He said the Philippines was looking forward to co-chairing with Japan the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus experts’ working group on maritime security for 2024 to 2027.

“We trust that, through our joint efforts, we can also advance partnership on climate change, marine environmental protection, HADR, maritime security, military medicine, counterterrorism, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian mine action and more recently, cybersecurity,” he said. INQ
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