Kishida Addresses Philippine Congress, Stresses Cooperation; Highlights Coastal Radar Agreement Under New OSA System

Pool via Reuters
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers his speech at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Philippines, on Saturday.

MANILA — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the Philippine Congress on Saturday that multilayered cooperation among allies and like-minded countries is important, apparently with an eye on China’s aggressive maritime expansion in the East and South China Seas.

In the first ever speech to the Philippine Congress by a Japanese prime minister, Kishida said it is necessary to strengthen security cooperation among Japan, the Philippines and the United States because the international order based on the rule of law is currently in grave danger.

The prime minister emphasized his determination to lead the international community toward cooperation rather than division and confrontation, and to defend freedom and the rule of law.

He noted that maritime security agencies and other organizations from Japan, the Philippines and the United States have been actively conducting joint exercises in the South China Sea, where China has threatened to unilaterally change the status quo.

He called for the protection of maritime order, which is governed not by force but by law and rules.

As for Japan-Philippines relations, he also pointed to progress in security cooperation, including an agreement he reached with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at a summit on Friday to provide coastal surveillance radars under Japan’s Official Security Assistance, or OSA.

It will be the first OSA program to be implemented since the establishment of the OSA system.

He then said that Japan will continue to help improve the Philippines’ security capabilities and contribute to regional peace and stability.

Kishida also proposed strengthening Japan’s ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He called for jointly creating a vision for a new era at the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation to be held in Tokyo in December.