AP – Japan’s prime minister boarded a Philippine patrol ship yesterday in a symbolic show of support as Tokyo shores up regional alliances.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the Japanese-built BRP Teresa Magbanua, which was docked at the Manila harbour, capped his two-day visit to Manila. He held talks with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Friday to strengthen defence ties.
Japan has provided a dozen patrol ships to the Philippines in recent years, including the 97-metre-long Magbanua. Manila’s coast guard largely uses the ships for sovereignty patrols and to transport supplies.
In their talks on Friday in Manila, Kishida and Marcos agreed to start negotiations for a key defence pact called that would allow their troops to enter each other’s territory for joint military exercises. The Japanese premier also announced that coastal surveillance radars would be provided to the Philippine navy under a new security grant programme.
In the first-ever speech by a Japanese premier before a joint session of the Philippine Congress yesterday, Kishida pledged to continue helping bolster the capability of the Philippine military and maritime agencies.