Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr hosted his Japanese counterpart (Prime Minister Fumio Kishida) on Friday and Saturday (3-4 November).
Security topped the agenda, with Kishida announcing plans to:
- 🔊 Transfer advanced radar equipment to the Philippines
- 🛥️ Increase support for the Philippines coast guard, and
- 🎖️ Pursue talks on Japanese troops potentially deploying and conducting military exercises in the Philippines (and vice versa).
And this came just a few days after Manila announced it would seek to partner with Tokyo (and other US allies) on $4.9B in troubled rail projects.
Intrigue’s take: Of course, the unspoken impetus here is a more assertive China in the region. The last president of the Philippines (Duterte) set aside territorial disputes with China while encouraging greater economic ties.
But since taking office last year, Marcos Jr has charted a different course. And in Japan, he’s found a partner with technical know-how, deep pockets, and a growing interest in regional defence ties. A perfect match.