U.S., Japan, Philippines to Engage in Joint South China Sea Naval Patrols

On March 29, Politico reported that the U.S., Japan, and the Philippines have planned to engage in joint naval patrols in the South China Sea sometime later this year, according to a U.S. Official and a foreign diplomat familiar with the planning.  

This comes as the leaders of all three nations are having a trilateral summit on April 11. This will be the first trilateral summit between these nations. 

The White House is expected to announce that it will “seriously consider” making Japan a “technological partner” in the AUKUS agreement, according to a Defense Department Official. 

In recent months, China has increased its aggressive confrontations with Filipino naval assets in the South China Sea, utilizing water cannons and high-power lasers to deter Philippine vessels from resupplying Philippine outposts in the region. 

The U.S. and the Philippines have a longstanding mutual defense treaty that obligates the U.S. to come to the aid of the Philippines, in the event of an armed attack. 

According to Politico, the joint naval sea patrol could raise the risk of possible kinetic confrontation with Chinese forces in the region.