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Philippines-Japan-US tripartite agreement still a concept, no details yet —Marcos

TOKYO — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has clarified that the possible tripartite agreement between the Philippines and its two close allies, the United States and Japan, is still a concept that has to be further discussed.

Speaking to reporters on the flight back to Manila, Marcos said that the Philippine delegation and their Japanese counterparts “haven’t talked about it in detail.”

“It’s just been a proposal… there is another proposal from the Japanese on a US-Japan-Philippines tripartite agreement,” the President said.

In an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News, the chief executive said the government will review the proposed tripartite deal between the Pacific nations. 

“I think just part of the continuing process of strengthening our alliances because in these rather confusing, and I dare say dangerous, situations that we have, I’m not talking only about the South China Sea, I’m not only talking about the Indo-Pacific region but, of course, there is a conflict still ongoing in Ukraine and the rather disturbing effects that it has all around the world,” Marcos told Kyodo News.

The President, likewise, told the Philippine media that it needs to be further discussed as to “what exactly does [the tripartite agreement] entail.”

“[A]nd of course we have to talk to the Americans also para makita kung ano ba talagang roles that are going to be played should there be a tripartite agreement,” he said.

“So ‘yung proposal is in concept pa lang, in principle pa lang. We really don’t have—we don’t really have details yet,” he added.

The President said that the Philippine government will sit down with its Japanese and American counterparts to iron out the details.

“As I said… it’s only been proposed in principle and that’s as far as it goes so far,” Marcos said.

“Now we have to go back and go into the details of all of those different subjects,” he said.

Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier agreed to bolster Manila and Tokyo’s defense and security relations.

The two Asian leaders agreed to have further bilateral discussions on addressing regional and international situations, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.

In a joint statement, Marcos and Kishida resolved to “increase the defense capabilities of their own countries, and further strengthen overall security cooperation.”

This will be done through strategic reciprocal port calls and aircraft visits, transfer of more defense equipment and technology, continuous cooperation on previously-transferred defense equipment, and capacity building.

Marcos concluded his five-day official trip in Japan, which he said would bring a new decade of partnership between the two countries. — BM, GMA Integrated News