Philippines hopes to seal troops pact with Japan soon

November 6, 2023 - 6:49 PM
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A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014. (Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo/File Photo)

 The Philippines hopes to ink a reciprocal troops access deal with Japan a“the soonest possible time,” Manila’s Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said on Monday.

The Philippines and Japan have agreed to start negotiations on a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) that would allow both countries to deploy their forces on each other’s soil.

“We look forward to this reciprocal access agreement between both our countries given the commitment of the Japanese government and the Philippine government to preserve the rules-based international order and international law,” Teodoro told a press briefing.

Once the agreement is sealed, Teodoro said it would have to be submitted to the Philippines Senate and Japanese legislature for ratification.

Negotiations for an RAA would strengthen military cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, two of the United States’ closest Asian allies, at a time of rising maritime tensions in the region and an increasingly assertive China.

– Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor