National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan of the United States, National Security Advisor Akiba Takeo of Japan, and National Security Advisor Eduardo Año of the Republic of the Philippines gathered for the first time on 16 June 2023 in Tokyo, Japan to exchange views on a concrete approach for improving trilateral cooperation.
Mr. Akiba and Mr. Año welcomed Mr. Sullivan’s reaffirmation of the United States’ ironclad alliance commitments to both Japan and the Philippines. Recalling the security environment discussed in the recent Japan-United States, Japan-Philippines, and United States-Philippines summit meetings, the three National Security Advisors (NSAs) reaffirmed the importance of deepening trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States and the Philippines, which share fundamental values of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights, in order to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order.
The three NSAs emphasized the importance of enhancing trilateral cooperation and response capabilities based on the Japan-United States Alliance and Philippines-United States Alliance in order to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Also, they concurred that a free and open maritime order, characterized by freedom of navigation, and a free, fair, and equitable economic order are essential in the Indo-Pacific, especially given unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. The three NSAs discussed a wide range of regional security challenges, including with respect to the South China Sea and the East China Sea, as well as North Korea. In addition, they reiterated the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
The three NSAs confirmed plans to enhance trilateral cooperation as reflected below:
Efforts to enhance trilateral defense and security capabilities
- The three NSAs discussed opportunities to conduct combined maritime activities including multilateral joint naval exercises in Indo-Pacific waters in support of freedom of navigation, and the broader rules-based order.
- The three NSAs resolved to advance trilateral defense cooperation based on the recent progress between the United States and the Philippines such as the four additional locations identified pursuant to their Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and between Japan and the Philippines in discussing frameworks that will enhance and facilitate reciprocal visits of defense and military officials.
Efforts to maintain a free and open maritime order
- The first trilateral joint training among the three countries’ coast guards was conducted in early June and the three NSAs reaffirmed the importance of such activities.
- The three NSAs reaffirmed the importance of efforts to promote Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) by utilizing Japan’s new “Official Security Assistance (OSA)” cooperation framework, the QUAD’s Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) and other capacity building measures.
Efforts to enhance trilateral cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
- The three NSAs resolved to deepen trilateral cooperation in the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), drawing on their military and civilian HA/DR capabilities.
Efforts to maintain a free and equitable economic order
- The three NSAs resolved to make common efforts to promote economic security and economic resilience.
- The three NSAs affirmed their commitment to addressing economic coercion in coordination with other partners.
The three NSAs decided to convene additional trilateral exchanges in the coming months among the National Security Secretariat of Japan, the National Security Council staff of the United States, and the National Security Council Secretariat of the Philippines, to further expand cooperation and information-sharing.