Japan, U.S., Philippines Eye 1st Security Advisors’ Talks This Week

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WASHINGTON – Japan, the United States and the Philippines are considering holding the first trilateral talks of their security advisors in Tokyo this week to address China’s intensifying military activities in the Indo-Pacific region, diplomatic sources said.

Under the new three-way security scheme, Takeo Akiba, secretary general of Japan’s National Security Secretariat, and his U.S. and Philippine counterparts, Jake Sullivan and Eduardo Ano, are expected to attend the planned talks on June 16, according to the sources.

The talks would reflect their deepening cooperation following the first joint drills by three countries’ coast guards earlier in the month off Manila Bay, which opens to the South China Sea.

The gathering, originally scheduled for April, would show their renewed commitment to strengthening their deterrence against Beijing’s growing maritime assertiveness in the East and South China seas, including the Taiwan Strait, the sources said.

Communist-led China regards Taiwan as its own territory to be eventually reunified with the mainland and has been stepping up military pressure on the self-ruled democratic island.

China and Taiwan have been separately governed since they split in 1949 due to a civil war. Beijing has opposed any official contact between the island and the United States.

Japan and the Philippines, both U.S. security allies, are also facing challenges related to China’s territorial claims in their nearby waters at a delicate time when they are also trying to keep economic ties with Beijing.

Japan, the United States and the Philippines also held their first quadrilateral defense ministerial meeting involving Australia last week in Singapore on the sidelines of the Asia Security Summit, an annual regional forum also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Source : JAPANTODAY