National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor Akiba Takeo of Japan, and National Security Advisor Eduardo Año of the Philippines held a trilateral phone call on December 13, 2023, to reaffirm their commitment to freedom of navigation and international law in the South China Sea and East China Sea and the fundamental importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
They expressed concerns about the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) recent dangerous and unlawful conduct near Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Reef, and called on the PRC to abide by the legally binding July 2016 Arbitral Tribunal ruling and desist from further provocative behavior. NSA Sullivan reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad alliance commitments to both Japan and the Philippines.
The three NSAs underscored the importance of enhancing trilateral cooperation and committed to continue implementing the initiatives they discussed at their June meeting, including trilateral efforts to: enhance defense and security capabilities, particularly on cyber security; maintain a free and open maritime order; enhance cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and maintain a free and equitable economic order.
The three NSAs reaffirmed their decision to conduct close trilateral coordination over the coming months to advance their shared interests in a free and open Indo-Pacific.