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Philippines, Japan announce negotiations for key defence pact

MANILA (AFP) – Japan and the Philippines said yesterday they will start negotiations for a defence pact that would allow the countries to deploy troops on each other’s territory.

Tokyo and Manila – longtime allies of Washington – are deepening their defence cooperation.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement following talks in Manila.

“We are cognisant of the benefits of having this arrangement both to our defence and military personnel and to maintaining peace and stability in our region,” Marcos said, as he stood beside Kishida in the presidential palace.

Marcos and Kishida said Japan would also provide the Philippines with a coastal radar surveillance system as part of a JPY600 million (USD4 million) security assistance package.

Kishida is the first Japanese prime minister to visit the Philippines since 2017. He is scheduled to address a special joint session of Congress today – the first Japanese leader to do so.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signs the guest book as Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos looks on at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, the Philippines. PHOTO: AFP