Japan, Philippines Eye Summit in Tokyo in Early February

Reuters file photo
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. addresses a session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2022.

Japan and the Philippines are making arrangements for a summit to be held in Tokyo early February, according to sources.

If realized, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will visit Japan for the first time since taking office in June of last year.

Faced with the common challenge of China’s aggressive maritime expansion, the two countries are expected to confirm their stance to further strengthen security cooperation.

During the summit, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Marcos Jr. are likely to discuss the expansion of joint training between the Self-Defense Forces and the Philippine military, and maritime security cooperation, as well as to exchange views on Tokyo’s further economic assistance to Manila.

The Marcos administration has changed the previous administration’s conciliatory policy toward China to focus on security ties with the United States. With the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden also emphasizing diplomacy with the Philippines, Washington and Manila plan to hold a meeting of the two countries’ foreign and defense chiefs, commonly known as 2-plus-2 talks, for the first time in seven years.

In light of such moves by the two countries, Japan also intends to reinforce its deterrence against China by bolstering bilateral relations with the Philippines.