Last week, the defense ministers for Japan and the Philippines met for talks that concluded with an agreement to increase the transfer of military technology and equipment between the two countries, and to hold more joint military drills. Japan sent air radar systems to the Philippines in 2020.
That meeting was followed by a four-person meeting when the foreign ministers of both countries joined a discussion about security that involves China and its non-secret plan to control the disputed waters and islands in the region.
Bob Maginnis, a national security expert at the Family Research Council, tells AFN most of China’s neighbors in the region are concerned about the ambitions of Beijing’s communist government.
“So the corroboration between Tokyo and Manilla,” he says, “is to be expected."
A full 80 years have passed since U.S. and Filipino defenders surrendered to Imperial Japan on the island fortress of Bataan. The geo-political situation has certainly changed since then largely due to communist-led China, which fought ferociously against the Japanese during World War II and was a U.S. ally in the air.
Much like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has awakened NATO's members, especially in Europe, China’s plan to own and control important sea lanes in the region are bringing together former enemies. Those nations are being led by Japan, which is rebuilding its military as part of a 10-year plan that began in 2018.
Maginnis says China is clearly “hegemonic,” or determined to dominate and rule, in the Pacific region. That plan began with taking over a first chain of islands, he warns, and the plan is now moving to a second chain that includes Guam and islands owned by Japan.
How concerned is Japan? The nation’s deputy prime minister vowed last year it would defend Taiwan if China attacks the island as it has promised to do.
In another move mirroring Russia's current threats, China’s communist party published a propaganda video promising to nuke Japan if it interferes with China’s plan for “unification” with rogue Taiwan.