Arms Race

Beijing Responds to Japan-Philippines Military Deal

Main image to the post Beijing Responds to Japan-Philippines Military Deal

Beijing expressed strong disapproval of the military agreement between Japan and the Philippines, highlighting that the Asia-Pacific region should refrain from forming military blocs that could escalate tensions. The Reciprocal Access Agreement signed by Tokyo and Manila permits both nations to station their forces in each other's territories and engage in joint military exercises, a move that Beijing perceives as potentially detrimental to regional peace and unity. This development has evoked memories of Japan's past aggression, particularly its invasion and occupation of Southeast Asian countries during World War II, leading to a call for Japan to acknowledge its historical wrongdoing.

The pact is believed to pave the way for collaborative training activities between the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the Philippine military, which will involve specific guidelines for handling weaponry, ammunition, and jurisdiction over criminal incidents or accidents. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa hailed the agreement as a groundbreaking achievement, emphasizing its significance as the first of its kind signed by Japan in Asia. However, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lin Jian, urged Tokyo to reflect on its wartime history and approach military and security matters with caution to avoid jeopardizing regional stability.

The reciprocity agreement is pending ratification by the respective legislatures of Japan and the Philippines before taking effect, with Philippine Armed Forces chief Romeo Brawner underscoring its importance in enabling joint training exercises and military cooperation between the two countries. While acknowledging the benefits of bilateral exchanges, Beijing reiterated the importance of upholding mutual understanding and trust among regional nations, cautioning against actions that could undermine peace, target third parties, or compromise the interests of others.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09