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Talks ongoing for possible PH-US-Japan joint patrols, says DFA

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said negotiations are ongoing for the upcoming joint naval patrols among Filipino, American and Japanese troops in the West Philippine Sea.

The DFA made the confirmation amid reports that a trilateral maritime activity may be mentioned in the joint statement of President Marcos, US President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida when they meet at the White House next week.

“I can confirm that negotiations are still ongoing. Nothing more, ” Assistant Secretary Arvin de Leon of the DFA’s Office of Public Affairs and Cultural Diplomacy said.

On April 11, the three leaders will meet in Washington.

Marcos, Biden and Kishida will sit down to discuss trilateral cooperation to “further peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Diplomatic sources already informed various media outlets that Japan is planning to join the Philippines and the US in its maritime activities in the South China Sea.

The three countries have recently been active in its campaign to ensure freedom of navigation and in calling out China for its aggressive actions in the waters.

Meanwhile, China demanded the Philippines not to seek help from other countries as the dispute in the waters should only be among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China.

“For some time, the Philippines has been pulling non-regional actors into the South China Sea affairs to back Philippine provocations and violation of China’s sovereignty,” Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Wednesday.

The Chinese official called the Philippines’ seeking of support from other like-minded nations as “selfish gains at the expense of the consensus reached by countries in the region.”

“We once again urge the Philippines to respect the facts, observe the relevant understandings between the two sides and DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea) provisions, follow the consensus reached between China and ASEAN countries, and return to the right track of properly managing and resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible,” Wang said.


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