MANILA, July 8 – The Philippines and Japan signed a key defence pact on Monday that will allow the deployment of troops on each other’s territory, as they boost ties in the face of China’s growing assertiveness.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was finalised in Manila, where Japanese Defence Minister Minoru Kihara and Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa are holding talks with their Philippine counterparts Gilberto Teodoro and Enrique Manalo.

The accord, which Tokyo and Manila began negotiating in November, provides the legal framework for Japan and the Philippines to send defence personnel to each other’s territory for training and other operations.

The signing was “another milestone in our shared endeavour to ensure a rules-based international order, to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and particularly in our region”, Teodoro told reporters.

The Philippines and Japan are longtime allies of the United States, which has been strengthening its alliances from Canberra to Tokyo to counter China’s growing military might and influence in the region.

Lin Jian, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said the Asia-Pacific region does not need military blocs, still less does it need to provoke confrontation between different camps or small circles that encourage a new Cold War.


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