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Mar 23, 2024 / 15:23

Another trilateral alliance?

It will be Joe Biden's new feat.

It will be a premiere for the US, Japan, and the Philippines: the first-ever US-Japan-Philippines leaders's summit will be held on April 11 in Washington. But such trilateral gathering between the US and its partners in Indopacific isn't a novelty anymore.

 Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Source: The Office of Japan's Prime Minister

The precedent was also already set. Last year, also in Washington, US President Joe Biden, Japan's premier minister Fumio Kishida, and South Korea's president Yoon Suk-Yeol met together and signed their trilateral agreement on security and defense. It is a true security alliance between the US, Japan, and South Korea - the first one in the Indopacific.


The question now is how to see the coming US- Japan-Philippines summit in Washington. Whether simply a trilateral high-level meeting, only a one-time talk, or the beginning of the process leading to the forming of another trilateral alliance in the Indo-Pacific?


Looking at the common strategic interests of the US, Japan, and the Philippines and the security problems they all have just presented to deal with, the generally dominating impressions could only be that the Three intend to pave the way to shape another security and defense trilateral alliance in the Indopacific.


The preconditions for it are already created. All bilateral relationships between them have been remarkably improved in the last time. The urgency to rely on each other to deal with security concerns is real and growing and its names are China and North Korea, both for the US and Japan, and China for the Philippines.


It will be Joe Biden's new feat. The US has already the so-called Quad comprising the US, India, Japan, and Australia. It has already trilateral security arrangements with the UK and Australia (AUKUS). It has improved its bilateral ties with all of its important partners and strategic allies in the Indopacific. And now, he has his trilateral coalitions with the US's most important traditional security, defense, and military allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. This network of allies and partners is building the until now most favorable constellation for the US in the Indopacific on the security, defense, and military fields. It is unlikely that the US, Japan, and the Philippines at their first-ever trilateral summit could reach the same results as the last trilateral gathering of the US, Japan, and South Korea. But the way to this goal will be envisaged, their first steps are already planned and the bell will soon ring for the start of the U.S.-Japan-Philippines journey to establish their new trilateral framework for their military, defense, and security cooperations which one day would reach the level of a true alliance. It depends on China and North Korea, too, how much time it will take for the Three to achieve this goal.

Disclaimer: The reflections expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.