Philippines, Japan to sign landmark defense deal on Monday

July 8, 2024 - 9:14 AM
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Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shakes hands with Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, November 3, 2023. (Aaron Favila/Pool via Reuters)

The Philippines and Japan will sign a defense agreement on Monday that will allow their military forces to visit each other’s soil, the Philippine president’s communications office said on Sunday.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will witness the signing of the Philippines-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement shortly after a courtesy call by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and Defence Minister Minoru Kihara, his office said.

Kamikawa and Kihara are in Manila to meet their Philippine counterparts on Monday to discuss deepening cooperation on defence between two key allies of the United States in Asia.

The Philippines has been bolstering ties with neighbours and other countries to counter what it describes as China’s growing aggression in the South China Sea.

Japan, on the other hand, has faced off with China in the East China Sea over tiny, uninhabited islands that Beijing calls the Diaoyu and Tokyo calls the Senkaku.

Formal negotiations for a Reciprocal Access Agreement between the Philippines and Japan started in November.

—Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Sharon Singleton