Japan and the Philippines are discussing exchanging military forces to confront China

Japan discussed the possibility of deploying its forces in the Philippines, as the two countries approached reaching several security agreements, all of which aim to strengthen regional deterrence against China, according to the British Financial Times.
“The governments of Manila and Tokyo are about to sign a reciprocal access agreement, which will allow each of their militaries to train on the other’s territory,” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez.
He added that the two countries discussed "rotating deployment of forces, an arrangement similar to that under which the United States maintains military forces in the Philippines, despite the country's constitutional ban on the permanent deployment of foreign forces."
He continued: “We have already discussed this matter in the past and we will continue to consider it again as part of the cooperation between our two countries,” explaining that Manila is studying all aspects of its relations with Japan, expecting the two countries to conclude a mutual access agreement shortly after the tripartite summit that will be held on April 12. ongoing in Washington.
Romualdez said that the United States, the Philippines and Japan are also close to reaching an agreement that will lead to their naval forces conducting joint patrols in the South China Sea, adding that the three countries have finalized the details, including matters related to the frequency of patrols and where they will be conducted.
The ambassador stated that the United States and the Philippines are also “very close” to reaching a military intelligence-sharing agreement known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement, saying: “I hope that if we cannot complete this agreement during this summit, it will be done soon.”
American concern
The Financial Times believed that the news related to these discussions sends a clear message to China about the extent of the growing concern of the United States and its allies about its military activity in the region, whether regarding Taiwan, or in other areas of the South China Sea.
The newspaper pointed out that the deployment of Japanese forces in Southeast Asia "represents a major development for Tokyo and Manila," which have worked greatly to enhance cooperation with the United States in confronting China.
In this regard, it quoted Christopher Johnston, a Japanese expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as saying: “If this happens, the presence of Japanese forces in the Philippines will send two strong messages to China, the first of which is that there is a multilateral regional security structure that is being formed in response to Beijing’s behavior.” In the region, and that Japan has become an accepted security provider in Southeast Asia, developments that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Source: Al-Sharq
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