Philippines, Japan to hold first 2-plus-2 security talks

Kyodo News

Posted at Apr 05 2022 04:23 PM

Fifteen ships from the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, German Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and US Navy sail in formation during Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX), Nov. 21. ANNUALEX 2021 is a multilateral exercise conducted by elements of the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, German, JMSDF and US navies to demonstrate naval inoperability and a joint commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Haydn N. Smith
Fifteen ships from the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, German Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and US Navy sail in formation during Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX), Nov. 21. ANNUALEX 2021 is a multilateral exercise conducted by elements of the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, German, JMSDF and US navies to demonstrate naval inoperability and a joint commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Haydn N. Smith

TOKYO — Japan and the Philippines will hold their first ministerial security talks on Saturday in Tokyo to enhance cooperation in countering China's increasing maritime assertiveness in the South and East China seas, Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Tuesday.

The so-called 2-plus-2 talks involving the countries' foreign and defense ministers come as the Philippines faces overlapping territorial claims with Beijing in the South China Sea. 

China also has been routinely sending ships to the East China Sea to waters near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and calls Diaoyu.

"We would like to further bolster our cooperation with the Philippines, which has great significance (for Japan) in terms of security," Kishi told a regular press conference.

The 2-plus-2 talks with the Philippines will be the second with a Southeast Asian country following those with Indonesia.

During the visit to Tokyo, the Philippines' Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will also hold separate individual talks with their Japanese counterparts, meeting Kishi on Thursday and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Saturday.

A government source has described the Philippines as a "strategic point for security" given its geographical location, as China flexes its muscles beyond what Beijing views as the "first island chain."

The first island chain is a defense line drawn by China off the east coast running in an area that includes Japan's Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines. The Senkaku Islands fall within the chain.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to launch the 2-plus-2 meetings during phone talks in November.

Besides the Philippines, Japan has formed a 2-plus-2 framework with the United States, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, India, Indonesia and Russia.

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