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the special japan-australia

strategic partnership
within the ambit of
democratic security diamond:


the special japan-australia
strategic partnership
within the ambit of
democratic security diamond:
THE philippines
Copyright 2017 by Albert Del Rosario Institute
for Strategic and International Studies

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Stratbase ADR Institute
The Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) is an independent international
and strategic research organization with the principal goal of addressing the issues
affecting the Philippines and East Asia.

Victor Andres Dindo C. Manhit

President, Stratbase-Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi)

Ambassador Albert del Rosario
was the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines from 2011 to 2016. He also served as
Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America from 2001 to 2006.

Manuel V. Pangilinan
is CEO and managing director of First Pacific Company Limited. He is also the chairman of
MPIC, PLDT, Meralco, and Smart Communications, among others.

Edgardo G. Lacson
is an honorary chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). He
was the former president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.

Benjamin Philip G. Romualdez

is the former president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.

Ernest Z. Bower
is senior adviser for Southeast Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
(CSIS). He is CEO of BowerGroupAsia (BGA), and a leading expert on Southeast Asia.

Renato C. de Castro, Ph. D

is a full professor of international studies at De La Salle University Manila (DLSU). He
holds the Charles Lui Chi Keung Professorial Chair in China Studies.

Judge Raul C. Pangalangan, Ph. D

is a judge of the International Criminal Court. He was previously a dean of the University of
the Philippines College of Law and publisher of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Epictetus E. Patalinghug, Ph. D

is a professor emeritus at the Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business, University of the
Philippines (UP), Diliman.

Francisco A. Magno, Ph. D

is the executive director of the Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance and former President
of the Philippine Political Science Association. He is a professor of political science at DLSU.

Carlos Primo C. David, Ph. D

is a professor of Geology and Environmental Science in UP Diliman. He heads the Philippine
Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development.

Executive Summary viii

Introduction 1

Maritime Security Challenge of the 21st Century:

Chinese Expansionism 3

Japans Proactive Security Role 7

The Democratic Security Diamond and the

Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership 11

The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership 13

Japans Capacity-Building Efforts with the Philippines 16

Australias Capacity-Building Activities with the Philippines 19

The Duterte Administrations Defense Program: Continuing its

Predecessors Quest for Enhanced Maritime Security 21

Japans and Australias Capacity-Building Efforts
with the Duterte Administration 25

Tapping the Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

for Capacity-Building in Maritime Security 26

References 31


About the Author

Prior to his presidential inauguration on 30 June 2017, defense analysts assumed that
President Rodrigo Duterte would follow former President Arroyos national security
policy of gravitating close to China while ignoring territorial defense and focusing
on domestic security challenges. President Dutertes agenda of improving bilateral
relations with China could have meant that investments on territorial defense would
be decreased, if not terminated. In context, the Armed Forces of the Philippines
modernization was linked to then President Aquinos agenda of challenging Chinas
expansive claim in the South China Sea.
This would result in a complete change in focus for the defense establishment from
the China challenge in the South China Sea to the Abu Sayyaf; from the countrys
exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea to Mindanao, particularly the island
provinces of Sulu and Basilan; from modern fighter jets to helicopters; and from
much-needed bigger maritime surface combatants to small patrol craft. Yet, midway
into the second year of his term, President Duterte has not substantially changed the
national defense objectives, as he continued his predecessors efforts to modernize
the AFP by building up its air and naval capabilities. For the Duterte administration,
internal security operations and territorial defense/maritime security should go hand
in hand. This, in turn, has led to the implementation of the Aquino administrations
acquisition projects, along with the purchase of new platforms for internal security.
Aside from the United States, two other countries have assisted the Philippines in
enhancing its maritime security capabilities: Japan and Australia. This paper examines
Japans and Australias efforts to enhance the maritime capabilities of the Philippines
in the face of Chinas maritime expansion in East Asia. It observes that both Japan
and Australia are members of a loose association of maritime democracies called the
Democratic Security Diamond (DSD). A brain child of Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, the DSD was formed by four naval powersAustralia, India, the United
States, and Japanto safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian
Ocean to the Western Pacific.
As members of the DSD, Japan and Australia have emphasized the relevance of the
regional security architecture, using multilateral organizations as a means of upholding
a stable and rules-based order in East Asia. Both countries are also actively involved
in assisting the development and maritime capacity building of third countries that
may be threatened by the rise of China, such as the Philippines. Since the formation
of their special strategic partnership in 2012, Japan and Australia have assisted the
Philippines in building up its navy, coast guard, and air force. In conclusion, this paper
argues that in building up the countrys maritime security capabilities, the Philippines
should look at the prospect of signing a commonVisiting Forces Agreement (VFA)
with Australia and the Japan and forming a trilateral security partnership made up of
Tokyo, Canberra, and Manila.

The Special Japan-Australia
Strategic Partnership within the Ambit of
the Democratic Security Diamond:
Seeking Partnership with the
Philippines in Maritime Security

F rom 2001 to 2010, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had focused
all its attention, efforts, and resources on neutralizing the various insurgent
movements in the country. In early 2009, however, the country was suddenly
confronted by a ubiquitous Chinese naval presence in Philippine territorial
waters and greater assertiveness in the Spratlys. This started when the Philippine
government passed Republic Act No. 9522 or the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines
Law. Shortly after then President Gloria Arroyo signed the bill into law in March
2009, China deployed a fishery patrol vessel and, in the following month, sent
six more patrol vessels allegedly to curb illegal fishing in the disputed area. These
moves manifested Chinas efforts to consolidate its jurisdictional claims, expand
its naval reach, and undermine the positions of other claimant states through
coercive diplomacy.1 Hence, with Chinas assertiveness in the South China Sea, the
Philippines realized the need to develop the capability to protect its vast maritime
borders and its territorial claim over some islands in the Spratlys.
The AFPs shift from internal to maritime security gained momentum when
Benigno Simeon Aquino III became president in 2010. On several occasions,
he vowed to pursue the AFPs modernization program, intended to transform
the Philippine military from an army-centered counter-insurgency-oriented
organization into a modern armed force capable of overseeing territorial defense
and maritime security. In clear emphatic terms, President Aquino spoke of
2 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

enhanced security for national defense and put forward the countrys claim for
territories in the South China Sea through the modernization of its navy and air
force.2 In 2013, he announced that his administration is pursuing the Strategic Sail
Plan 2012, which aims to upgrade the capacity and capabilities of the Philippine
Navy (PN) for maritime security.
These official pronouncements on modernizing the AFP were geared toward
redirecting the Philippine military away from asymmetric or low intensity conflicts
(LICs) to territorial defense and maritime security. This shift entailed providing the
AFP with the necessary equipment, technical training, and expertise for external
defense. In turn, the Philippine military had to train its officers and personnel
to broaden their skills in, knowledge of, and capability in territorial defense,
instead of merely discharging constabulary functions and undertaking socio-civic
activitiesa role it had performed since the Philippines became independent in
1946. It also meant that the PN had to go beyond being a transport arm of the
Philippine Army (PA) and become a naval force that could stand up to the security
challenges of a maritime nation located in a strategically vital area of the world
and confronted by an expansionist continental power. Finally, they called for the
Philippines to form and foster partnerships with naval powers with common values
and mutual interests in maritime security.
Aside from the United States, two other countries have assisted the Philippines
in enhancing its maritime security capabilities: Japan and Australia. Both countries
are members of a loose association of maritime democracies called the Democratic
Security Diamond (DSD). A brain child of Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Shinzo
Abe, the DSD was formed by four naval powersAustralia, India, the United States
(US), and Japanto safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian
Ocean to the Western Pacific.3 As members of the DSD, Japan and Australia have
emphasized the relevance of the regional security architecture, through the creation
of multilateral organizations to uphold a stable and rules-based order in East Asia.4
Both are also actively involved in joint assistance to the development and maritime
capacity building of third countries that are threatened by the rise of China, like
the Philippines.5
In October 2016, Japan provided the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) with a new
multi-role patrol vessel to enable it to patrol the West Philippine Sea.6 In February
2016, the Philippines and Japan signed an agreement that will facilitate the transfer
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 3

of defense equipment and technology from the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) to
the AFP.7 Australia is another country that has engaged the Philippines in enhancing
its maritime security capabilities. In 2012, the Philippine Senate ratified the
Philippines-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA). The agreement
provides legal guarantees to Australian forces engaged in combat exercises with the
AFP. It also commits Australia to extending additional grants for military training
to upgrade the Philippine military. It also commits the Australian government
to enhancing its military aid to the Philippines, given that Canberra is one of the
leading providers of security assistance to Manila.8 In 2015, the Philippines and
Australia signed the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership. The joint
declaration commits both countries to enhance their cooperation in defense,
counter-terrorism, and activities in countering violent extremism (CVE).9
This paper examines Japans and Australias efforts to enhance the maritime
capabilities of the Philippines. It raises this question: as members of the DSD,
how are Australia and Japan helping enhance the Philippines maritime security
capabilities? It also addresses the following questions:

1) What is the biggest challenge to maritime security governance in

East Asia?
2) Why is Japan taking a proactive role in maritime security?
3) Why did PM Abe push for the creation on the DSD?
4) How has the DSD fostered a strategic partnership between Japan
and Australia?
5) How can the Philippines maximize its interaction with DSD in its
efforts to develop its maritime security capabilities?

Maritime Security Challenge of the 21st Century:

Chinese Expansionism

In the mid-1980s, Admiral Liu Huaqing, the Commander of the Peoples Liberation
Army Navy (PLAN), announced the Near Seas Active Defense doctrine. This
doctrine called for the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to form layered defenses in
the first island chain to deter a potential adversary from threatening China from
4 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

the sea.10 Following its inability to challenge the US naval intervention during the
1996 Taiwan Straits Crisis, China has focused intently on matching or measuring
US force projection capabilities through the development of its anti-access/area-
denial (A2/AD) capabilities.11
In the mid-1990s, China developed an arsenal of conventional yet inexpensive
and highly precise armed ballistic and cruise missiles aimed at virtually every
US air base and port in the Western Pacific. These weapons are also designed to
sink enemy surface vessels (including US aircraft carriers) operating hundreds of
miles off Chinas coast.12 Chinese military planners believe that their missiles, with
A2/AD capabilities, can adequately prevent the US Navy from intervening in or
provoking a confrontation with China in the region.13 Thus, since the 1990s, the
US Navy believes that China has the means to disrupt or slow down the deployment
of American air and naval forces to this theater of operations.14
During the first decade of the 21st century, China enjoyed a phenomenal
economic boom that turned the country into an engine of growth in East Asia and,
indeed, the wider world. With its gross domestic product (GDP) surpassing that of
Japan in 2010, China has become the second-largest economy in the world, next
only to the US. Its economic success has not only made it confident and assertive
in foreign affairs but has also intensified its military prowess.15 China has had an
annual double-digit increase in defense spending since 2006. In 2013, the Chinese
government increased its defense budget by 13% to enable the PLAN to undertake
a wide range of military functions, including winning local wars under information
age conditions.
During the early years of the new millennium, the PLAN acquired a fleet
of Russian-made diesel-electric Kilo-class submarines and Sovremenny-class
destroyers, along with several types of indigenously-built destroyers, frigates, and
nuclear-powered attack submarines. It has also upgraded its operational capabilities
across the waters surrounding Taiwan and deployed two new classes of ballistic and
attack submarines. In 2012, the PLAN commissioned Chinas first aircraft carrier
the Liaoning. China has likewise developed and deployed the carrier-based J-15
fighter plane and the new Jiangdao-class light frigate for long-distance security
patrol in the disputed waters around the Spratlys and the Senkaku islands.16
Chinas continuing naval buildup bolsters its A2/AD capabilities, which can
prevent foreign navies from occupying or crossing vast stretches of maritime
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 5

territories and make the Western Pacific off limits to the US Navy.17 To achieve
this objective, the PLAN is undertaking the following: a) setting up anti-satellite
missiles, lasers, and a sophisticated cyber-attack mechanism to target the US
militarys command and control systems that rely operationally and logistically on
satellites and the internet; b) deploying conventional ballistic and cruise missiles
and stealth combat aircraft to cripple major US military installations in the region
and to limit the US Navys ability to maneuver in international waters; and c)
purchasing submarines armed with advanced torpedoes and high-speed cruise
missiles to counter US aircraft carriers and the surface vessels that protect them.18
China has consequently expanded its control of the South China Sea. In March
2010, China declared the South China Sea as one of its core interests, which
indicated its determination to assert its rights over the disputed areas. At the same
time, top-level Chinese officials abandoned their moderate public posture on the
South China Sea dispute, and became increasingly assertive and nationalistic.
They constantly harped on Chinas emergent status, the decline of the US, and
their unceasing claim of sovereignty over the East China and South China Seas.
They depicted China as a reactive and defensive victim of increasing maritime
encroachments by two small powersVietnam and the Philippinesand the
unwarranted meddling of the US.
The Chinese navy backs the official claim that the South China Sea is its territorial
waters. Hence, Vietnamese and Philippine vessels are harassed, detained, or even
fired upon by Chinese patrol crafts. These incidents are indications of Chinas
aggressiveness and coercive diplomacy to pressure the two claimant states to steer
clear of the contested area.19 As one analyst observes: despite the talk of joint
cooperation and the general de-escalation, the situation in the Spratlys remains
potentially volatile. China continues to maintain that its sovereignty over the region
is non-negotiablea stance that is unlikely to change, as it would be too politically
uncompromising to its long-held logic of indivisibility.20 This, in turn, negates
Chinas diplomatic and economic efforts to present its emergence as peaceful and
creates wedges between itself and its smaller neighboring states in Southeast Asia.21
Strong economically and militarily, China has taken provocative actions in
the South and East China Seas. These include the unilateral declaration of an Air
Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea; the active conduct of
several live-fire naval exercises by the PLAN and Peoples Liberation Army Air
6 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

Force (PLAAF) in the Western Pacific/South China Sea; and the hardline responses
by the PLAN in coordination with Chinese maritime law enforcement agencies
on territorial rows with the Philippines and Vietnam in the contested sea.22
These moves worry the other littoral states about Chinas maritime design in the
region.23 From their viewpoint, these bullying tactics smack of Chinese territorial
expansionism and adventurism.24 However, from Chinas perspective, it is a case
of the country outgrowing its subordinate status in the past and feeling confident
enough to press its case in the Western Pacificto stand resolute in managing its
territorial and sovereignty issues in the East and South China Seas.25
In 2015, China fortified its expansive maritime claim in the South China Sea
by constructing artificial islands over the eight reefs it occupied in the Spratlys.
Based on the satellite images provided by IHS Janes Defense Weekly, China has
created new artificial islands at Hughes, Johnson, Gaven, Fiery Cross, and Mischief
Reefs.26 On 9 April 2015, the Chinese foreign ministry acknowledged Chinas
massive artificial island constructions in the Spratlys and it justified this effort as a
way of satisfying necessary military defense requirements, while at the same time
providing civilian facilities such as typhoon shelters, fishing services, and civil
administration offices for China, its neighbors, and international vessels sailing in
the South China Sea.27 Despite President Xi Jinpings statement to then President
Barack Obama that China does not intend to pursue militarization of the Spratly
islands, China continued its construction of airstrips and other facilities for military
requirements in the disputed land features.
In November and December 2015, the PLAN conducted two massive naval
exercises in the South China Sea involving guided-missile destroyers, frigates,
submarines, early warning aircraft and fighter jets.28 These efforts gave China the
strategic advantage in conflicts over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and
interests in the South and East China Seas, as the PLAN is expected to develop
the naval capabilities needed to gain control of both sea and air in wartime, while
strengthening its presence in peacetime.29 These moves concretize Chinas plan to
unilaterally and militarily resolve maritime issues, flaunt its naval capabilities, and
impress upon the other claimant states its de facto ownership of the disputed
territories.30 Recently, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative observed that
while China engages in a peaceful discussion with the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN), China has constructed new missile shelters, radar/
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 7

communication facilities, and other infrastructure that indicate that it remains

committed to developing its power projection capabilities in the South China Sea.31
The eventual goal is to build a robust strategic base for China prevailing in the
struggle to defend the South China Sea, and in effect, construct a Great Wall at

Japans Proactive Security Role

Japan is not party to the South China Sea dispute. However, it has paid attention to
Chinas actions in this territorial row. Historically, Japan was an important player
in the South China Sea because of its mining interests in the early 20th century, and
its strategic objectives when Japanese forces occupied the large island of Hainan,
the Paracel islands, and Itu Aba in the Spratlys just before the Pacific War in the
early 1940s.33 In the post-Second World War era, Japans interests in the South
China Sea stem from its role as a trading nation. As an island-state with limited
natural resources, it is heavily dependent on vital trade routes that crisscross the
South China Sea where more than 80% of its oil supply and roughly 70% of its
overseas trade traverse.34 The South China Sea also plays an essential function in
linking Japan with Southeast Asia, a sub-region where it has exerted tremendous
efforts to assume a leadership role by promoting peace, stability, and regionalism by
providing economic aid and offering to serve as mediator in inter-state disputes.35
Unlike most non-claimant states, however, Japans interest in the South China
Sea dispute goes beyond the fundamental interests in securing the Sea Lines of
Communication (SLOCs), maintaining freedom of navigation, and the rights of
passage and overflight over the disputed waters. More significantly, this stems from
Japans geo-strategic concerns on Chinas growing power in Asia, and Japan sees
Chinas behavior in the South China Sea as an indicator of its latent interests as an
expansionist power in East Asia. Clearly, Tokyo deeply understands and appreciates
American geopolitical theoretician Nicholas Spykmans famous aphorism that
who controls the rim land rules Eurasia; who rules Eurasia controls the destiny
of the world.36 From Japans perspective, more aggressive Chinese behavior vis-
-vis other claimants in the South China Sea suggests that Beijing has underlying
expansionist tendencies that could threaten Japanese interests in other parts of
8 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

the world. More specifically, Japans overriding concern is that, if China achieves
its expansionist goal in the South China Sea dispute, it will also adopt a similar
objective and strategy in the East China Sea.
In December 2012, after his return to power, PM Shinzo Abe pushed Japan to
take a proactive role in upholding the liberal international order, with a specific
emphasis being placed on the security and governance aspects of the maritime
domain.37 The following year, on 17 December 2013, the Japanese government
drafted and adopted a national strategy that incorporated PM Abes advocacy for
a proactive role for Japan as its contribution to regional and global security. The
formulation and release of this strategy was a result of a recognition that Japans
minimalist security policy, which provided for a dominant focus on economics
and limited involvement in international security affairs, was inadequate in the
new external environment. This environment is marked by Chinas rapid military
expansion, as well as North Koreas growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities;
both developments are causing shifts in the balance of power.38
The 17 December 2013 National Security Strategy provided comprehensive
directions for Japans defense, foreign, energy, and Official Development Assistance
(ODA) policies in the second decade of the 21st century. More importantly, it
proposed that Japan should be proactive in the following areas: a) deterring threats
that directly affect the homeland; b) improving the security environment of the
Asia-Pacific; and more significantly c) strengthening the international order based
on universal values and rules.39
The last area is noteworthy because it reflects PM Abes agenda to push Japan
in utilizing its comprehensive power to assume a significant role in upholding and
protecting the existing order, beyond what any previous Japanese administration
had proposed in the post-war period.40 Since the early 1950s, Japan had relied
on economic statecraft and soft power diplomacy, circumventing the strategic/
military approach to addressing security crises in its immediate environment. By
assuming an important responsibility in protecting the postSecond World War
East Asian liberal order, PM Abe is pursuing a more ambitious and sophisticated
goal in the global arena than envisioned by previous Japanese prime ministers.41
This requires Japan to take a stronger and proactive strategic posture, although it
must remain defensive in terms of its defense policy.42 The strategy also specified
that Japan should take a greater regional role as the balance of power shifts with the
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 9

emergence of China and as the US turned its national security policy towards the
Asia-Pacific region.43
Interestingly, the National Security Strategy criticized China for attempting to
change the status quo by force, with a unique but persuasive argument that what
China is doing is not compatible with the existing legal order.44 Specific to the
South China Sea, it notes that the dispute over sovereignty has caused concerns over
the maintenance of the rule of law at sea, freedom of navigation, and stability in the
Southeast Asian region.45 For Japan, the South China Sea dispute does not simply
involve territorial squabbles among coastal states. Rather, it is a grand strategic
issue that could trigger military confrontations, undermine existing stability, and
potentially lead the region and the world into an unprecedented chaotic situation.46
The significance of Chinese expansion into maritime Southeast Asia goes beyond
the PLAN coercing or overwhelming the naval capabilities of the littoral states,
projecting power, or even establishing control in the South China Sea. It is about
China undermining the US-led liberal regional order that was formed at the end
of the Second World War and that has endured into the second decade of the 21st
century. The 17 December 2013 National Security Strategy states:

China has been rapidly advancing its military capabilities in a wide

range of areas through its continued increase in its military budget without
transparency. In addition, China has taken actions that can be regarded as
attempts to change the status quo by coercion based on its own assertions,
which are incompatible with the existing order of international law, in the
maritime and aerial domain, including the East China Sea, and the South
China Sea.47

This view emanates from the assumption that the South China Sea dispute
is merely the tip of an iceberg, and that this dispute is all about the US-China
geostrategic competition in the 21st century Asia-Pacific region. The National
Security Strategy described this condition as one of the gray-zone situations.48
Accordingly, they are neither pure peacetime nor contingencies over territorial
sovereignty and interests.49 However, there is a risk that these gray-zone
situations could escalate into grave situations.50 These grave situations are: a)
heightened competition between China and the US, Japans formal treaty ally; and
10 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

b) advancement of the PLAs A2/AD capacities that will have a deterrent effect on
the conventional military capabilities of the US and its East Asia allies like Japan.
From Japans standpoint, Chinas development of its A2/AD capabilities threatens
to upset the long-standing regional strategic and military balance based on the
US role as East Asias strategic offshore balancer. Chinas A2/AD capabilities are
designed to counter the American forward-deployed presence and the deterrent
effects of the US conventional military capabilities that support its East Asian allies.
By investing in A2/AD, China simply needs to generate a credible fear that the PLA
can inflict prohibitive losses on US carrier battle groups, rendering American naval
operations within the first island chain extremely difficult and risky. Thus, the PLA
now possesses a potent psychological tool that can weaken the US Navys will to
operate in the East and South China Seas. In the long run, Chinas development
of its A2/AD capabilities will mean that the US Seventh Fleets uncontested and
unfettered access to the waters around East and Southeast Asia that began in 1945,
after the Second World War, is coming to an end.51
Japan implemented a series of security initiatives that are deemed defensive
in nature.52 These initiatives required Japan to work even harder to become
a major player in [the] international society, by providing greater support to
US naval operations in East Asia, and building security partnerships with other
nations, including Australia, South Korea and Southeast Asian states.53 Specific
to its responsibility as a US ally, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)
must assume more missions so that American forces can perform more flexible
deployments in other areas, depending on its strategic requirements, rather than
remain tied to operations in Japanese waters.54 This will require the JMSDF to take
on additional missions in any future South China Sea contingencies than it had
previously assumed.55
In wartime conditions, such responsibilities will include exploiting Chinas
dependence on SLOCs for its overseas trade or even destroying or sinking PLAN
capital ships operating in these waters.56 Consequently, Japans focus on the
southern East Asian SLOCs will mean an increase in the strategic relevance of
maritime Southeast Asia.57 Japans strategic focus on the region also signals that
it intends to challenge Chinese expansion, not only in the South China Sea but in
the entirety of East Asia. Examining the geostrategic relevance of Japans focus on
Southeast Asia, an Australian academic observes:
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 11

As Southeast Asia becomes an increasingly important geo-strategic region

that will in large determine the future shape and characteristics of the East
Asian order, the Abe government appears to believe that it becomes incumbent
on Japan to lend its weight to the preservation of the order that the Yoshida
Doctrine depends upon. In other words, the Yoshida Doctrineand Japanese
security and prosperityfalls in abeyance if the South China Sea effectively
becomes a Chinese lake.58

The Democratic Security Diamond and

the Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

Japan views Southeast Asia as a critical region in light of Chinas expansion in the
South China Sea. Japan, however, is aware that it lacks the necessary capabilities to
unilaterally manage the changing strategic equation in Southeast Asia. Fortunately,
it has potential strategic maritime partners, since it is a part of the hub-and-spokes
system of bilateral alliances formed by the US in the 1950s. Within this alliance
system, Japan is the most important ally of the US and the US-Japan alliance
remains the bedrock of this system. Thus, Japan has increasingly maintained strong
and meaningful relations with the other members of the systemAustralia, the
Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, and even South Korea. Japan is aware that
if it wants to extend its strategic clout in Southeast Asia, it should be able to get
other major powers into the fray. Fortunately for Japan, it is well positioned to
play a significant role. This is because of its alliance with the US, its huge economy,
its being a liberal democratic state, and given the fact that in Southeast Asia and
elsewhere, Japan is seen as a source of stability because of its resilient pacifism.59
In January 2013, PM Abe called for the creation of a DSD. Japan initiated the
creation of this loose association of maritime democracies to oppose Chinese
maritime expansion and to defend peace, stability and the freedom of navigation
within the diamond. Its immediate goal is to prevent the South China Sea from
becoming a Beijing Lakea sea deep enough for the [PLAN] to base their nuclear-
powered attack submarines, capable of launching nuclear missiles.60 According to
PM Abe, if Japan (and other countries) were to yield to Chinas maritime expansion
in the South China Sea, the naval assets of the United States, in addition to those
12 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

of Japan, would find it difficult to navigate the entire area, though the large portion
of the two China seas is international waters.61
According to him, the goal of the DSD is to constrain Chinas aggression in
the South China Sea.62 However, he was aware that there are few countries in the
region that have the formidable power projection capabilities that can challenge
Chinas maritime expansion. There was simply no point for Japan to form this
association with small- and medium-sized states that have limited or no strategic or
military weight to put on the table.63 In forming the DSD, PM Abe saw the prospect
of Australia, India, Japan, and the US forming a geographic diamond that would
safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Western
Pacific.64 In choosing these countries, Tokyo saw meaningful cooperation between
the Australian, Indian, Japanese, and US navies as a force multiplier for all four
fleets and, as such, would considerably complicate Chinas ability to achieve its goal
of maritime expansion in the Western Pacific.65 The four member states of DSD
also share a similar outlook and anxieties about the rise of China and the potential
threat it poses to trade and energy SLOCs from the Middle East and Africa and in
the East and South China Seas should future tensions exacerbate.66
PM Abes efforts to form the DSD stemmed from Japans growing frustration with
the lack of concerted and effective action to oppose Chinese maritime expansion
in East and South China Seas, including by the US.67 From PM Abes point of view,
China has not been deterred in the assertion of its territorial and jurisdictional
claims despite diplomatic censure by the US and other claimant states, and even by
the US Navys freedom of navigation operations.68 Through the DSD, he hoped that
Japan would be able expand its strategic horizon as a mature maritime power and,
together with its partners, be able to shoulder more responsibility as a guardian of
navigational freedom across the Pacific and Indian Oceans.69
Japan believes that although there is a need to impose costs on Chinas coercive
actions in East Asia, it cannot be done unilaterally; the task of imposing a cost
on Chinas behavior requires a collective effort.70 The DSD focuses on practical
cooperation to protect the maritime commons from transnational threats, such as
piracy and terrorism, cooperating on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
(HADR), and developing interoperability between their naval forces.71 It conducts
maritime exercises in the Indian Ocean to build on its members capability gaps
in warfighting across the Indo-Pacific region. However, cooperation in the DSD is
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 13

informal as it avoids the establishment of permanent institutional structures, using

the common democratic identity as its central rallying point.72
The DSD does not intend to challenge ASEANs centrality in regional security
affairs. The intent is simply to supplement the numerous multilateral security
regimes in East Asia, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit,
and even the ASEAN itself. However, unlike the DSD, these regional security
forums do not impose any security obligations on their member states and operate
according to ASEANs approach of cooperative security.
Furthermore, the notion of the DSD is significant because it potentially proposes
an evolution of the existing security architecture based on bilateral alliances (the
hub-and-spokes system) to a quadrilateral grouping.73 However, the DSD does not
intend to supplant the hub-and-spokes of the San Francisco System, since the US
still takes the lead role in this quadrilateral grouping with the support of Japan.
Both the US and Japan have developed relations with India, while also being part
of the system of bilateral alliances.74 The creation of the DSD is one of a series
of the Abe governments small yet interlinked steps to enhance Japans security,
diplomacy, and economy, as well as contribute to the maintenance of Asias liberal
post-Second World War order over the coming decade and beyond.75

The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

Within the DSD, Japan and Australia have enhanced their direct bilateral security
ties to forge what is described as a special strategic partnership.76 This does not
mean that the two countries are already treaty allies. Rather, both states seek to
pragmatically advance their national interest in tandem and to multiply their
capabilities to jointly meet security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.77 Starting from
the 2007 Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, the Japan-
Australia strategic partnership has become the most institutionalized bilateral
relationship that both countries have with any third country except their common
ally, the US. Their strategic partnership involves the annual two-plus-two (2+2)
defense and foreign minister level meetings since 2007, and the establishment of
key agreements facilitating deeper defense cooperation between the Australian
Defense Force and the JSDF, the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (2010)
14 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

covering logistics, and the General Security of Military Information Agreement

(2012) on information security.78 After the formation of the DSD in 2013, the two
countries relationship was upgraded from a strategic partnership to a new special
relationship and was again upgraded in 2015 to a special strategic partnership.79
The Japan-Australia Vision Statement issued by the 4th 2+2 meeting described
the two countries as natural strategic partners as they share common values and
interests, including a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, the protection
of human rights and open markets.80 The two partners, however, have different
perspectives on the China challenge. On one hand, given its geography and
historical rivalry with China, Japan sees its neighbor as an existential clear and
present danger. On the other hand, Australia has been very vocal about its intention
not to be dragged into Japans ongoing territorial row with China over the Senkaku
islands, maintaining its neutrality over the issue of who owns those islands in the
East China Sea.
Nevertheless, both Australia and Japan are not only bound by their membership
in and reliance on the US system of alliances, but also are concerned about the
US possible long-term demise. Neither Australia nor Japan will want to find itself
abandoned or adrift without their common superpower ally, the US. Japan and
Australia are also in agreement about the importance of promoting the rules-based
international order and an open and functioning regional security architecture.
Both adhere to a security consensus or shared interests in the freedom of
navigation through SLOCs and the maintenance of a stable rules-based regional
orderensuring that the partners will continue to deepen their contribution to
the partnership.81 Finally, they also share a common concern about the long-term
credibility of US security guarantees, due to questions of US political resolve,
defense cuts, and its economic dependence on China, as well as the PLAs increasing
ability to threaten US military bases and forward-deployed forces in the Asia-
Pacific through its A2/AD capabilities.82
Japan and Australia are also pursuing two common policies: a) focusing their
attention to the security of the Asia-Pacific; and b) cooperating on capacity-
building assistance directed to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Both Japan
and Australia underscore the importance of the Asia-Pacific region and share
a common vision for the region.83 Canberra has formulated a number of policy
initiatives to strengthen its security engagement in the Asia-Pacific. Japan, likewise,
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 15

has assigned greater security priority to this part of the world. In light of Chinas
emergence in the Asia-Pacific, the two countries are in agreement on what type of
regional order they would like to preserve and promote. Their vision of a regional
order is expressed in three inter-related aspects: a) the two countries agree on the
importance of their respective alliances with the US and, hence, support the US
role in the Asia-Pacific; b) both countries have a common view of the international
order that can be seen in their joint support for a liberal international order, which
is seen to have underwritten the peace and prosperity of the region since the end
of the Second World War; and c) the two security partners hold a common view
on the importance of supporting third countries increasingly active roles in the
regional and global stages and the need to develop closer ties with them.84
Japan and Australia see the need to forge closer bilateral ties and links with third
countriesespecially other like-minded middle powers with shared values and
interests. In pursuing this policy, Canberra and Tokyo believe that they are doing
themselves the service of no longer relying exclusively on one great and powerful
ally for their security. Instead, they are seeking safety in numbers.85 Notably, it has
been observed that both Australia and Japan have been proactive in seeking to
nurture such convocations of like-minded states to offset a rising Chinese power
and declining US influence in the Asia-Pacific.
Building the capacities of like-minded countries is a new and important area of
the Japan-Australia strategic partnership. The 2012 Vision Statement commits Japan
and Australia to cooperating on capacity-building assistance focusing on Southeast
Asia and the South Pacific.86 Japans capacity-building assistance is directed toward
non-traditional security cooperation and is aimed at heightening the resilience of
ASEAN and the South Pacific countries in dealing with disasters and other natural
and human-made calamities.87 Both Japan and Australia have also encouraged
the overall enhancement of regional security cooperation, including the ASEAN
Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), by improving the capacities of
ASEAN countries in their participations in international security operations.88
Canberra and Tokyo consider fostering relations with third countries through
capacity building important for two reasons: a) a concert of order-reinforcing
middle powers would enmesh China in a web of regional institutions and norms;
and b) an association of middle powers could be transformed into a countervailing
military alliance or coalition, even if the US is absent, with Japan as a prospective
16 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

The Japan-Australia strategic partnership is premised on the belief that the

liberal international order is broad and inclusive so that other countries can share
in it. Embedding their bilateral security cooperation into a broader (either trilateral
or multilateral) context is a more optimal approach than confining themselves
to the narrow bilateral framework.90 Although Japan and Australia agree on the
increasing importance of their alliance with the US in the face of Chinas emergence
as a great power in East Asia, the two strategic partners believe that it is necessary
for them to go beyond narrow bilateral security relations and establish a trilateral
framework that includes like-minded countries. Japan and Australia see the
Philippines as one of these like-minded countries that can play an important
security role in preserving the liberal international order in East Asia. This is shown
by how Japan and Australia assisted the Philippine government in its efforts to
develop its maritime security capabilities.

Japans Capacity-Building Efforts with the Philippines

In July 2011, then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and former President Aquino
agreed to bolster security relations between Japan and the Philippines. After then
President Aquinos third visit to Japan, Tokyo and Manila announced that there
would be an elevated dialogue on maritime and oceanic affairs, exchanges between
Filipino and Japanese defense and maritime officials, and that Japan would provide
training to the 3,500-strong PCG.91 In September 2011, then Japanese Prime
Minister Naoto Kan and former President Aquino issued a joint statement in Tokyo,
affirming that the South China Sea connects the Asia-Pacific to the world, and that
peace and stability therein is of common interest to the international community.92
Then Prime Minister Kan also instructed the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) to train
the PCG, hold consultations with Filipino naval officers, and increase joint coast
guard exercises.93
In July 2012, then Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto and his Filipino
counterpart, Voltaire Gazmin, inked a bilateral agreement on maritime security.94
The agreement calls for high-level dialogues between defense officials and reciprocal
visits by the JMSDF Chief of Staff and the PN Flag Officer-in-Command. It also
features various security-related activities such as the Multinational Cooperation
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 17

Program in the Asia-Pacific (MCAP); the Multilateral Logistics Staff Talks (MLST);
training exchanges and subject matter exchanges on HADR and logistics; and
exchange visits and student exchanges in the two countries respective staff colleges.
A few days later, then Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario
announced that Tokyo was likely to provide the PCG with ten 40-meter boats as
part of Japans ODA to the Philippines by the end of that year.95 Newspapers also
reported that two additional bigger vessels were being considered for transfer to the
Philippine government under a grant.
In January 2013, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced the provision of
essential communication system equipment to PCG for maritime safety.96 On 27 June
2013, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and his Philippine counterpart,
Voltaire Gazmin, confirmed the continuous exchanges of information aimed at
strengthening Philippine-Japan defense relations and on working together to make
US strategic rebalancing a reality in Asia.97 To further defense cooperation, the
Asian allies committed to undertake these activities98: reciprocal visits between the
Chief of Staff of the JMSDF and the PN Flag Officer-in-Command; the holding of
the Japan-Philippines Maritime Chief of Staff Meeting; port calls in the Philippines
by JMSDF vessels; and active participation in the Pacific Partnership 2012. The
two defense ministers also extended the two countries security cooperation to the
field of aviation, which was highlighted by the visit to the Philippines by the Chief
of Staff of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). During the same meeting,
former Secretary Gazmin also raised the possibility of allowing the JSDF access to
the former American military bases in the Philippines if Tokyo is interested in such
In December 2013, then President Aquino met PM Abe in Tokyo and discussed
Chinas establishment of an ADIZ in the East China Sea.100 President Aquino was
worried that China might extend the zone into the South China Sea, adversely
affecting Philippine security. Prime Minister Abe assured President Aquino that
Japan would not allow China to change the regional status quo by force, and would
cooperate with the Philippines to ensure that the freedom of flight and navigation
would not be infringed.101 To cap off their one-on-one meeting, the two leaders
signed an agreement for yen-based soft loans to finance the 10 Japanese patrol
boats for the PCG.
In June 2014, former President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe met in Tokyo
18 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

and discussed Chinas ambition to become a major naval power in East Asia.102
They explored areas of possible cooperation to enhance the recently forged
Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership.103 Then President Aquino followed up the
PCGs request for 10 brand new 40-meter long multi-role patrol boats that were
financed through a soft loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. 104
PM Abe told former President Aquino that three of the vessels would be delivered
in 2015, while the other seven would be made available for the PCG in 2016. The
PCG declared that the 10 new boats would be used to patrol the waters around the
seven islands claimed and occupied by Philippine forces in the Spratlys. They will
also be deployed to monitor the presence of foreign naval vessels in the several reefs
and shoals within the countrys EEZ that are currently occupied by Chinese forces.
PM Abe also promised to provide VSAR and Inmarsat communication systems to
the PCG for its maritime domain operations.
During his state visit to Japan in early June 2015, former President Aquino
consulted thoroughly with PM Abe on the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific
region.105 The two leaders issued a joint declaration called A Strengthened
Strategic Partnership for Advancing the Shared Principles and Goals for Peace,
Security, and Growth in the Region and Beyond. The strategic partnership is
founded on the basis of shared principles and goals.106 The document also conveyed
the two countries commitment to ensuring maritime safety and security in the
South China Sea and their serious opposition to unilateral actions to change the
status quo in the contested territory, including Chinas large-scale projects and
construction of outputs on the land features. This was especially directed against
Chinas constructions of artificial islands in the contested sea. In summing up, the
communiqu commits Japan to the following: a) enhancing the capacity of the PCG;
b) cooperating with the Philippines on maritime security and domain awareness;
and c) exploring the possibility of transferring Japanese defense equipment and
technology to the Philippines.107
The declaration also contains a detailed action plan for strengthening the strategic
partnership. Identified collaborative activities include the sharing of intelligence on
the security environment and challenges; information exchanges and coordination
on their respective security policies; collaboration on maritime matters (including
domain awareness); humanitarian assistance; and, most importantly, the provision
of defense equipment and technology.
On 29 February 2016, Manila and Tokyo signed a new defense pact that
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 19

establishes the legal parameters for the transfer of defense equipment and
technology from Japan to the Philippines. Then Defense Secretary Gazmin and
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa said that the agreement
would further strengthen the security and defense cooperation between these two
countries. It also provides for the Philippines and Japan to conduct joint research
and development, and engage in the joint production of defense equipment and
technology.108 The accord stipulates the formation of a Philippines-Japan joint
committee that will manage the transfer of defense equipment and technology
from Japan to the Philippines, as well as how the materiel and know-how can be
used.109 Both parties expect that the agreement will not only enhance their evolving
security partnership, but will also advance the development, production, and
establishment of technological bases for Japans growing defense industry. Japan has
similar defense agreements with the US and Australia. This agreement, however, is
Japans first with an East Asia country that, incidentally, also has a territorial dispute
with China.
In May 2016, the two governments agreed in principle to lease five JMSDF TC-90
surveillance planes to the PN. Those planes will be used to patrol the disputed areas of
the South China Sea and in search-and-rescue missions during natural disasters.110
Tokyo assured Manila that it will take responsibility for the maintenance of the
TC-90s, as well as train the PN personnel who will fly the aircraft. An anonymous
Philippine defense official remarked that this new security accord opens the door
to a lot of opportunities beyond the confines of mere equipment transfer or sale.111

Australias Capacity-Building Activities with the Philippines

The Philippines and Australia are formal US treaty allies that are also engaged in
joint security training. The two countries navies hold an annual naval exercise
labelled Philippine Navy-Royal Australian Navy Exercise Lumbas to enhance their
interoperability and readiness. The Philippine Army and the Royal Australian
Army conducted Land Activity Dawn Caracha, which focused on the training
of special forces units. The Australian military has trained senior AFP officers in
Australian military schools, and provided 28 flat-bottomed airboats for combat
and disaster relief operations. Both countries also cooperate in counter-terrorism
training under the Philippine-Australia Capacity-Building Project, which began
20 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

in July 2001 during the term of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
The project provides financial and technical assistance to the Philippines for law
enforcement, immigration, and port and transport security. Since 2005, Australia
has provided financial and technical support to the Coast Watch South project.
In 2007, the Philippines and Australia signed the Philippine-Australia SOVFA.
The agreement follows the format of the Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement
(VFA) signed in 1997. The SOVFA provides legal guarantees to Australian forces
conducting joint counter-terror exercises in the Philippines. It also commits the
Australian Defense Force (ADF) to advise the AFP on its logistics and acquisition
policy. The SOVFA, however, does not oblige either party to assist the other in
case of an armed attack by a third party. It merely covers issues of jurisdiction
over Australian troops during training exercises in the Philippines and vice-versa.
In October 2011, then Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd discussed key
regional and bilateral matters with Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario. They also
talked about enhanced cooperation on disaster response, consolidation of defense-
counter-terrorism measures, and crucial maritime security concerns, such as the
South China Sea dispute. Although Australia is not a claimant state in the South
China Sea dispute, it shares with the Philippines the strategic interest of unimpeded
access to the regions maritime commons.112
In July 2012, after five years of intense debates and deliberations, the Philippine
Senate finally ratified the agreement. As mentioned earlier, the SOVFA contains
the detailed legal framework for Philippine-Australian military activities, such as
the Coast Watch South project, and the Joint Maritime Training Activity Lumbas.
After the Philippine Senates ratification of the SOVFA, the DND announced that
Australia looked forward to joining the annual Philippines-US Balikatan (Shoulder-
to-Shoulder) joint military exercise.113 In October 2013, the two countries defense
ministers created the Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and the
Defense Cooperation Working Group (DCWG) to enhance their countries
defense relations through the annual conduct of the army-to-army exercises Dawn
Caracha and Dusk Caracha, the navy-to-navy Lumbas and Kakadu activities, and
the air force exercise Pitch Black.114 Eventually, the ADF sent 68 participants to the
Philippine-US Balikatan Exercise in 2014.
With improving Philippine-Australian security relations, former President
Aquino offered Australia a strategic partnership similar to what the country had
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 21

forged with the US and Japan.115 He commented that both countries have been
usually on the same side of issues that confronted them during the Second World
War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.116 He added that Australia and the
Philippines share the same values and have similar forms of government, as well as
face the same regional and global challenges.
On 18 November 2015, on the side of the Asia-Pacific Economic Community
(APEC) Leaders Meeting in Manila, then President Aquino and Australian Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed the Joint Declaration on Australia-Philippines
Comprehensive Partnership. The agreement formalized what had been a close and
comprehensive working bilateral relationship between two American allies. In
March 2016, the PN officially took delivery of three former Australian Balikpapan-
class landing craft heavy (LCH) from Australia. The three LCHs are former ships of
the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) that were transferred to the Philippines as part of
a set of five vessels acquired by the PN from Australia. The first two were donated
and commissioned into the PN in 2015. The three newly acquired ships were sold to
Manila for a friendship price of PHP 270 Million (USD 5.8 million). The acquisition
of the five LCHs bolstered the PNs humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
operations. They are also useful in transporting troops from one island to another
and for the conduct of amphibious operations all over the Philippine archipelago.

The Duterte Administrations Defense Program:

Continuing its Predecessors Quest for Enhanced Maritime Security

Before his inauguration on 30 June 2016, President Duterte declared that he

wanted closer relations with China and that he wouldnt continue the military
modernization program started by his predecessor. Consequently, his early
statements indicated that he would not pursue the modernization of the AFP with
as much vigor as former President Aquino. President Duterte publicly criticized the
Aquino administrations decision to procure 12 FA-50 fighter planes from South
Korea because he claimed that the aircraft could not be used for counter-insurgency
and were not numerically sufficient to challenge Chinas assertiveness in the South
China Sea.117 He said that the money spent for the fighter planes instead should
have been used to buy helicopters or boats that would pursue the Abu Sayyaf
22 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

bandit group.118 For him, the internal security problems should be solved first so
the country can promote tourism and lure more foreign investment.119
However, a few days after President Dutertes inauguration on 30 June 2016,
his administration slowly changed his tune on the AFP modernization. Defense
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured the AFP and the Filipino public that the Duterte
administration would pursue the modernization of the Philippine military.120
Secretary Lorenzana accentuated that territorial defense is one of the priorities of
the Duterte administration because it is very important as we need to protect our
territories against encroachment by other parties. He then added that the 15-year
AFP modernization program will continue as scheduled. He, however, clarified
that there will be some redirection as the Duterte administration is determined
to decisively deal with criminality, especially the Abu Sayyaf bandits, which has
given the Philippines a bad name following the series of kidnappings of Malaysian
and Indonesian sailors off the Sulu Sea.
In the aftermath of the Permanent Court of Arbitrations (PCA) favorable award
to the Philippines on its claims against China in the South China Sea dispute,
Secretary Lorenzana highlighted that there is an urgent need for the Philippines
to upgrade its Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force, to prevent other countries from
encroaching on its territory, especially the maritime areas.121 He underscored that
the 15-year modernization program of the AFP will continue as scheduled.122
He further added that in the long run, we will still follow our modernization
(program) because you know it jibes with what our long-term plans (of) having
credible deterrence to secure our territory.123
In the same month, President Duterte assured troops of the Sixth Infantry
Division that he would continue the Aquino administrations efforts to modernize
the AFP.124 President Duterte declared that there will even be no refocusing of the
modernization thrust. We will only adjust our priorities (to internal defense).125
Consequently, despite his earlier statements about his preference for smaller ships
and lighter aircraft for counter-insurgency operations, President Duterte eventually
gave the go signal for the acquisition of military materiel for territorial defense that
was put into the pipeline during the Aquino administration.
During his working visit in Japan from October 25 to 27, 2016, President Duterte
witnessed the signing for the lease of five JMSDFs TC-90 maritime reconnaissance
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 23

planes to the PN. The leasing of the five TC-90 planes at USD 7,000 per plane a
year was one of the important decisions of the Duterte administration in terms of
territorial defense, as the AFP lacks valuable assets for maritime domain awareness.
These planes will be used by the PN to monitor the Chinese activities in the South
China Sea.126
While President Duterte was in Tokyo seeking military assistance for the PCG
and PN, DND Secretary Lorenzana signed the PHP 15.7 Billion (USD 311 Million)
contract with South Korean Ambassador Kim Jai-Shin for the PNs acquisition of
two missile-armed ships.127 This is the first time that the Philippines is buying two
brand-new modern ships that are to be armed with surface-to-surface missiles. The
two frigates will have a length of 107 meters similar to South Koreas Incheon-class
frigates, and will be armed with anti-aircraft missiles, torpedo, guns, and sensors
for electronic warfare.128 According to the official statement, the ships are tailor-
made for the PNs requirements as they will have a relatively shallow draft that will
enable them to get closer to the islands which it would likely defend in the event
the conflict breaks out over these areas.129 Hyundai Heavy Industries added that
the frigates will be diesel-powered, will be capable of travelling at 25 knots, and can
negotiate waves at the height of up to four meters.
The Duterte administration has announced that it has no intention to go into
war with China. However, the two frigates would be fitted with high-tech weapon
systems, including missiles.130 The government is also setting aside PHP 2 Billion
(estimated USD 40 Million) for the acquisition of assorted anti-air, anti-submarine,
and anti-surface platforms and ammunitions for the two frigates.131 The signing of
this deal showed the Duterte administrations willingness to implement the projects
started by the Aquino administration. It is one of the biggest budget items for the
15-year AFP modernization program, as it accounts for the dramatic increase in
the supplementary allotment for the modernization program from PHP 15 Billion
(USD 300 Million) to PHP 25 Billion (USD 500 Million). The PN also received its
third Hamilton-class cutter from the US in December 2017.
These two ship acquisitions will enhance the PNs capability to operate in the
high seas. However, they clearly do not comply with President Dutertes agenda for
the PN to procure fast attack crafts and off-shore vessels that can support the armys
operations and the navys anti-terrorism and anti-drug trafficking campaigns in
24 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

the coastal areas of the Philippines. These efforts revealed the sense of urgency on
the part of the current administration to accelerate the modernization of the AFP
to enhance both its counter-terrorism efforts and territorial defense capabilities.132
Interestingly, despite President Dutertes earlier criticism that the Aquino
administrations purchase of the 12 FA-50s was a waste of money, the PAF
continues to receive 12 FA-50s from South Korea.133 In fact, the PAF is even
planning to further boost its airpower capabilities by acquiring another 36 FA-50s
to augment its projected force of 12 fighter planes.134 According to a PAF official,
the additional FA-50s will strength the countrys air defense capabilities along its
EEZ in the face of emerging threats in the countrys maritime domain.135 The PAF
is also pushing for the purchase of 12 AW109 Power light attack helicopters, in
addition to its current inventory of eight light attack helicopters. It is also eyeing
the acquisition of six Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack aircraft that can
be used for close air support and ground interdiction.136 In the long term, the PAF
is even considering the acqusition of Saab JAS 39 Gripen multi-role combat aircraft
that will enable its air units to detect, identify, intercept, and neutralize intrusions
into the projected Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone (PADIZ), and patrol
the countrys EEZ in the West Philippine Sea.137
The Duterte administration is meeting the Philippine militarys expectation
that it would continue to finance its modernization program that was started and
given priority by its predecessor from 2011 to 2016.138 It increased the 2017 defense
budget by 15% from the 2016 level. More significantly, it also augmented the annual
supplemental allotment for the AFPs acqusition of military equipment from PHP
15 Billion (USD 300 Million) to PHP 25 Billion (USD 500 million), reflecting the
administrations intention of accelerating the Philippine militarys modernization
program.139 It is also introducing new administrative measures to accelerate the
procurement of new military equipment, given the signficant delays that the
defense department and the AFP experienced in the acqusition of big-ticket items,
such as the two guided-missile frigates, 12 fighter planes, long-range patrol aircraft
and close air support aircraft.140 Indeed, President Duterte was putting his money
where his mouth was when he pledged to the graduating class of the Philippine
Military Academy (PMA) that his administration would provide radar, support,
patrol, and assault vehicles, as well as new surveillance and fighter aircraft in the
next two to three years, which will be used to secure the countrys borders.141
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 25

Japans and Australias Capacity-Building Efforts

with the Duterte Administration

Japans pressing diplomatic goal is to assist the Philippines in improving its

maritime surveillance capabilities in light of increasing Chinese maritime activities
in the South China Sea. Japan is strengthening its relations with the Duterte
administration by fostering periodic consultations between the two countries and
strengthening the PNs and PCGs maritime domain awareness capabilities. For the
Philippines, keeping its security partnership with Japan intact is necessary because
it remains the countrys most important trading partner, its largest investor, and the
home of several thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the millions
of dollars of remittance income they send home each year, an important boost to
the local economy.142
In January 2017, PM Abe went on a two-day state visit to Manila, as the
Philippines became closer to China while taking a hostile posture towards the
US. PM Abes visit to the Philippines was his first stop in a four-nation diplomatic
swing, as he pressed his efforts to boost Japans trade and security engagements
amidst Chinas increasing economic and diplomatic clout in Southeast Asia. Upon
his arrival, PM Abe mentioned that he chose the Philippines as his first destination
in his four-country tour to emphasize the importance of Philippine-Japan bilateral
During his talks with the Philippine president, he pledged JPY 1 Trillion
(USD 8.7 Billion) in an ODA package that would include government grants and
public investments for the Philippines over the next few years for infrastructure
development. This is Japans bid to strengthen strategic ties with a key Southeast
Asian state that is on the path of Chinas maritime expansion in the South China
Sea.143 The two leaders also discussed defense matters as they pledged to deepen
maritime security cooperation between their two countries. PM Abe emphasized
that since both the Philippines and Japan are maritime nations, Japan will support
the Philippines capacity-building in the field of maritime security.144 For his part,
President Duterte expressed hope to fast-track delivery of patrol vessels already in
the pipeline, and the acquisition of new boats.145 Both leaders also reaffirmed their
commitments to pursue a peaceful resolution to the long-standing South China Sea
dispute. PM Abe also stated Japans readiness to fully support President Dutertes
26 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

ASEAN Chairmanship for successful ASEAN-related Summit Meetings and the

East Asian Summit in 2017.146 Commenting on the high-profile visit by a Japanese
head of government to the Philippines, an American analyst observed that PM
Abes 12-13 January 2017 visit to the Philippines reflected Japans goal to upset
growing Chinese influence in the geopolitically strategic Southeast Asian country
by ensuring the steady flow of (Japanese) aid and investment to the Philippines.147
On 28 March 2017, the first two former JMSDF Beechcraft King Air TC-
90 reconnaissance planes were formally transferred to the PN. The two donated
aircraft augmented the PNs six 40-year old Britten-Norman Islanders that are
used in maritime patrol, surveillance, HADR, and rapid assessment missions.
Along with PM Abes pledges of more grants and investment, the lease of the TC-
90 reconnaissance aircraft to the PN was part of Tokyos efforts in assisting the
Philippines economically and militarily to counter Chinas growing influence on
the Duterte administration.
The November 2015 Joint Declaration on the Australia-Philippines
Comprehensive Partnership committed Australia to assist the Philippines in
defense modernization, including through bilateral and multilateral exercises,
education and training, and maritime cooperation. Australian troops participated
in the annual Philippine-US Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises. In 2016,
Australia sent 86 ADF personnel, with a contingent of 30-strong Special Forces
elements from the 2nd Commando Regiment. Australia also deployed a Royal
Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. In 2017, it
deployed 80 ADF personnel, and an RAAF Orion patrol aircraft. By participating
in four consecutive Balikatan exercises, Australia aims to build a strong relationship
with the AFP, while maintaining interoperability with the United States Pacific
Command (PACOM).148 During the Marawi City Siege, Australia sent the AFP two
RAAF AP-3C Orion aircrafts to provide surveillance and reconnaissance support
to its operation against Muslim militants who took control of the city.149

Tapping the Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

for Capacity-Building in Maritime Security

Prior to his presidential inauguration on 30 June 2016, defense analysts and

observers assumed that President Duterte would simply follow former President
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 27

Gloria Macapagal Arroyos national security policy of gravitating close to China,

while ignoring territorial defense, and focusing on neutralizing domestic security
challenges such terrorism and insurgencies. The AFPs modernization was linked to
then President Aquinos agenda of challenging Chinas expansive maritime claim in
the South China Sea. President Dutertes agenda of improving bilateral relations with
China may mean that public investments on territorial defense would be decreased
if not terminated. This would result to a complete change in focus for the defense
establishment from the China challenge in the South China Sea to the Abu Sayyaf;
from the countrys EEZ in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea to Mindanao,
particularly the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan; from modern fighter jets to
helicopters; and from much-needed bigger maritime surface combatants to small
patrol craft.150 As one defense analysts observed: while modernization has long
been a target of the AFP, finances have remained a considerable obstacle and there
is also the prospect that objectives could change further if Duterte continues to
seek to strengthen the Philippines ties with China.151 From the original goal of
territorial defense by its predecessor, the Duterte administrations original plan was
to revert back to the old (defense) posture of internal defense, or more appropriately,
counter-insurgency operations.152
Midway into the second year of his six-year term, President Duterte has
not substantially changed the national defense objectives, as he continued
his predecessors efforts to modernize the AFP by building up its air and naval
capabilities. Instead of changing the policy, he simply reoriented the AFPs key
missions by returning the function of internal security back to the Philippine
military, as it pursues its goal of achieving a credible defense posture. For the Duterte
administration, internal security operations and territorial defense/maritime
security should go hand in hand, since fighting or addressing threats from multiple
fronts is the AFPs mandated task. Clearly, the Duterte administration is not
changing the national security objectives and even the militarys previous efforts to
modernize, as it is merely reorienting the defense departments and the AFPs key
missions to its plan of first addressing domestic security concerns before focusing
on territorial defense.153 This, in turn, has led to the implementation of the Aquino
administrations acquisition projects, along with the purchase of new platforms for
internal security, like night-capable attack helicopters, precision guided missiles,
drones, and fast attack crafts in the next three to five years.154
28 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

The May 2017 Islamic militants occupation of Marawi City pitted the Philippine
military against a well-trained and ruthless transnational extremist insurgency that
has declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle
East. Led by the Maute group, an organization with strong support in the Muslim-
dominated part of Mindanao, about 500 Islamic militants fighting under the black
flag of ISIS took control of the central business district of the said city. President
Duterte and the AFP were caught flatfooted by this major strategic surprise. Focused
on his relentless campaign on illegal drugs, President Duterte was oblivious to an
Islamic militant threat that has been festering in Mindanao and has been reinforced
by the arrival of seasoned combatants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Chechnya, Yemen,
and Saudi Arabia. Trained in jungle warfare and used to operating in small units,
government forces have been unable to dislodge the militants despite deploying
ground troops and armor personnel carriers, and bombing the city from the air. Ten
Philippine Army troops were killed by friendly fire, while 13 Philippine Marines
lost their lives in one day of street-to-street fighting with the seasoned militants
from all over the world. Urban fighting in Marawi City exposed the Philippine
militarys limitations. However, for the AFP, defeating the ISIS militants in Marawi
City as soon as possible is imperative because a lengthy siege would attract more
militants to Mindanao to reinforce their fellow fighters in the city or be deployed in
other parts of the island.
This tragic event further forced the administration to focus on the importance
of capacity building for the Philippine military. President Duterte ordered the
AFP to acquire more drones and planes to help neutralize Islamic militants and
communist insurgents.155 In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA),
President Duterte declared that security threats had increased in the Philippines,
and the military needed more troops and modern equipment. I will build armed
forces that can fight [on] all fronts everywhere.156 Then, in his speech during
the 70th Anniversary of the PAF in early August 2017, he reiterated the theme
of capacity building for the Philippine military when he said that he planned to
double the size of the PAFs fleet of modern fighter planes by acquiring 12 more
FA-50 aircraft from South Korea.157
Aside from the United States, the government could further utilize the capacity
building efforts of the Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership. Specifically, the Duterte
administration should look at the prospect of securing more reconnaissance planes,
transport ships, and fast patrol crafts from Japan and Australia to strengthen
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 29

maritime security around the island of Mindanao. It could also foster more training
between the PN and PCG with the JCG, the JMSDF, and the RAN. To maximize the
Japan-Australia Strategic Partnerships efforts for capacity building, the Philippine
government should consider the following measures:

1) Manage a vigorous and friendly relations with the United States. A vibrant
and healthy relationship with the US enables the Philippines to expand its
bilateral relations with other allies within the hub-and-spokes system, like
Japan and Australia. Both Canberra and Tokyo value their alliances with
Washington and, hence, would like other countries to support the US role
as the off-shore strategic balancer in the Asia-Pacific region.

2) Establish a rapprochement with China but maintain a healthy diplomatic

distance with this aggressive power. Both Tokyo and Canberra pursue a
dual policy of engagement and balancing with China. Both countries have
China as their number one trading partner. However, the two strategic
partners cast a suspicious eye on Chinas maritime expansion in the South
China Sea, examine how Chinas emergence is undermining the rules-
based regional system, and cooperate on balancing China by maintaining
close security relations with the US. The Philippines should reflect on this
dual approach of engagement and balancing with China, given its territorial
dispute with this emergent power in the South China Sea.

3) Forge a common Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Japan and

Australia to enhance training among the AFP, JSDF, and ASDF. The
Philippines should consider a common VFA with Japan and Australia.
The Philippines has a SOVFA with Australia but it does not have any with
Japan. The Philippines might consider either negotiating or signing a
separate VFA with Japan or it may extend its existing VFA with Australia
to include Japan.

4) Explore the prospect of a trilateral Japan-Australia-Philippines Strategic

Partnership. Japan and Australia hold a common view on the importance
of encouraging third countries in playing active roles in regional security
30 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

and the need to develop closer ties with them. This is reflected in their
efforts of creating a wide network of security relations with India, the
US, South Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia. To maximize the Philippines
relations with both Japan and Australia, the Philippines might consider
a Japan-Australia-Philippines Strategic Partnership that will enhance the
three countries cooperation in HADR, counter-terrorism, and maritime
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 31

Chin-Hao Huang and Robert Sutter, China-Southeast Asia Relation: ASEAN and Asian Regional
Diplomacy, Comparative Connection: A Quarterly E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations (October 2009). p.
5. At (Searched date: 28 March 2010)
Alma Maria O. Salvador and Jennifer Santiago, Defense Budget and Spending: Alignment and
Priorities [in] Philippine Defense Spending (2001-2012) (Quezon City: Ateneo De Manila University Press,
2012). p. 14.
Lavina Lee and John Lee, Japan-India Cooperation and Abes Democratic Security Diamond:
Possibilities, Limitations and the View from Southeast Asia, Contemporary Southeast Asia. 38, 2 (2016). p. 285.
Thomas Wilkins, From Strategic Partnership to Strategic Alliance? Australia-Japan Security Ties and
the Asia-Pacific Asia Policy 20 (July 2015). 83.
Lee and Lee, op. cit. p. 283.
BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, Japan to Support Philippines in Enhancing Maritime Security, BBC
Catharin Dalpino, Japan-Southeast Asia Relations: Incremental, But Groundbreaking Steps,
Comparative Connections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations 18, 1 (May 2016). 140.
Asia News Monitor, Philippines/Australia: Senate Okays Philippines Defense Pact with Australia,
Asia News Monitor (26 July 2012). p. 1
MENA Report, Philippines: Highlights of Agreements and Bilateral Meetings, MENA Report
(11 December 2015). p. 1.
Christopher H. Sharman, China Moves Out: Stepping Stones toward a New Maritime Strategy
(Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, April 2015). p. 4.
Terence Kelly, David G. Compert, Duncan Long, Smarter Power, Stronger Partners Volume I:
Exploiting US Advantages to Prevent Aggression (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2016). p. 80.
Aaron L. Friedberg, Buckling Beijing: An Alternative US China Policy, Foreign Policy (September/
October 2012). 91, 5. p. 53.
Ibid. p. 53.
Roger Cliff, Mark Burles, Michael S. Chase, Derek Eaton, and Kevin L. Pollpeter, Entering the Dragons
Lair: Chinese Anti-Access Strategies and their Implications for the United States (Santa Monica, CA: Rand
Corporation, 2007). p. xvii.
National Institute for Defense Studies, NIDS China Security 2014: Diversification of Roles of the
Peoples Liberation Army and the Peoples Armed Police (Tokyo: National Institute for Defense Studies, 2015). p. 2.
Christopher H. Sharman, China Moves Out: Stepping Stones toward a New Maritime Strategy
(Washington D.C.: National Defense University Press, April 2015). pp. 34-35.
See Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., How to Deter China: The Case for Archipelagic Defense, Foreign
Affairs 94, 2 (March/April 2015). p. 79.
Ibid. pp. 79-80.
Robert Sutter and Chin-Hao Huang, Managing Rising Tension in the South China Sea, Comparative
Connections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations (September 2011) p. 1.
Kailash K. Prasad, An Assessment of the Goals, Drivers and Capabilities of Chinas Modernizing
Navy, The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis Vol. 24, No. 1 (March 2012). p. 57.
See Edward Wong, As Beijing asserts itself: US Senses an Opening, International Herald Tribune (27
September 2010). pp. 1-3.
National Institute for Defense Studies, NIDS China Security Report 2014 (Tokyo: National Institute for
Defense Studies, 2015). p. 3.
Ibid. p. 3.
David Scott, China Stands Up: The PRC and the International System (Oxon; New York: Routledge,
2007). p. 104.
Michael D. Swaine, The Real Challenge in the Pacific: A Response to How to Deter China, Foreign
Affairs 94, 3 (May/June 2015). pp. 146-147.
32 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

Bonnie Glasser and Jacqueline Vitello, China Makes Strides with AIIB and A Great Wall of Sand,
Comparative Connections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations (May 2015). p. 5.
Ibid. p. 7.
Robert Sutter and Chin-hao Huang, Limited Moderation amid Pressure and Complaints Comparative
Connections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations (January 2016). p. 4.
National Institute for Defense Studies, NIDS China Security Report 2016 (Tokyo, Japan: National
Institute for Defense Studies, 2016). p. 16.
See the International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011: The Annual Assessment
of Global Military Capabilities and Defence Economics (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies,
2011). p. 196.
Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, China Ramps Up Military Construction in South China Sea
Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (30 June 2017). p. 1.
Chris Buckley, China Shows Off Military Might as Xi Jinping Tries to Cement Power, The New York
Times (30 July 2017). p.1.
Joshua P. Rowan, The US-Japan Security Alliance, ASEAN, and the South China Sea Dispute, Asian
Survey 45, 3 (May/June 2005). p. 431.
Mathew Short, What Happens in the South China Sea, Matters in the East China Sea: Japans Reaction
to the South China Sea Arbitration Ruling, Asia-Pacific Bulletin Number 3659 (17 October 2016). p. 1.
Huai-Feng Ren and Fu-Kuo Liu, Transitional Security Pattern in the South China Sea and the
Involvement of External Parties, Issues and Studies 49, 2 (June 2013). p. 118.
Quoted from Rowan, op. cit. p. 432.
Short, op. cit. p. 1.
See Bhubhindar Singh, The Development of Japanese Security Policy: A Long-Term Defensive
Strategy, Asia Policy, 19 (January 2015). p. 53.
Prime Minister and the Cabinet, National Security Strategy: 17 December 2013 (Tokyo: Cabinet Public
Relations Office, 2013). p. 5.
John Lee, In Defense of the East Asian Regional Order: Explaining Japans New Found Interests in the
Southeast Asia, Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 8 (1). p. 39.
Ibid. p. 39.
Martin Fackler, Japan Urged to Assume a Larger Role in Region: Panel Appointed by Abe Call for Stronger
US Ties and Defensive Capabilities, International New York Times (December 12, 2013). p. 1. http://0-search.
Prime Minister and the Cabinet, op. cit. p. 12.
Ibid. p. 12.
Ibid. p. 8.
Koda, op. cit. p. 29.
Prime Minister and the Cabinet, National Security Strategy: 17 December 2013 (Tokyo: Cabinet Public
Relations Office, 2013). p. 12.
Ibid. p. 11.
Ibid. p. 11.
Ibid. p. 11.
Lee, op. cit. p. 36.
Singh, op. cit. p. 58.
Fackler, op. cit. p. 1.
Koda, Japans Perceptions of and Interests in the South China Sea, p. 34.
Ibid. p. 32.
Koda, The US-Japan Alliance. p. 7.
Lee, op. cit. p. 39.
Ibid. p. 42.
Singh, op. cit. p. 60.
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 33

Shinzo Abe, Security Diamond to Free Asias Sea Lanes, New Straits Times (29 December 2012). p.1 https://0-
Ibid. p. 1.
James Hardy, Japans Abe Calls for Democratic Security Diamond across Asia, Janes Defense Weekly;
Horley 50, 6 (9 January 2013). p. q
Lee and Lee, op. cit. p. 286.
Hardy, op. cit. p. 1.
Lee and Lee, op. cit., p. 288.
Lavina Lee, Abes Democratic Security Diamond and New Quadrilateral Initiative: An Australian
Perspective, The Journal of East Asian Affairs 30, 2 (Fall 2016). p. 7
Ibid. p. 288.
Ibid. p. 288.
Shinzo Abe, op. cit., p. 1.
Lee and Lee, op. cit. p. 290.
Lee, op. cit. p. 8.
Ibid. p. 8.
Ibid. p. 286.
Ibid. p. 8.
See Michael Auslin, Japans New Realism, Foreign Affairs 95, 2 (March/April 2016). pp. 125-134.
Thomas Wilkins, From Strategic Partnership to Strategic Alliance? Australia-Japan Security Ties and
the Asia-Pacific, Asia Policy 20 (July 2015). p. 81
Ibid. p. 81.
Lee, op. cit. p. 6.
Ibid. p. 6.
Yusuke Ishihara, A New Phase of Japan-Australia Relations, Pacific Forum CSIS, Issues and Insights
13, 8 (March 2013). p. 1.
Wilkins, op. cit. p. 7.
Ibid. p. 7.
Yusuke Ishihara, Japan-Australia Defence Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region, Beyond the Hub
and Spokes: Australia-Japan Security Cooperation (Tokyo, Japan: National Institute for Defense Studies, 2014).p.
Yusuke Ishihara, Japan-Australia Security Relations and the Rise if China: Pursuing the Bilateral-Plus
Approaches, UNISCI Discussion Papers 32 (May 2013). p. 95
Thomas Wilkins, From Strategic Partnership to Strategic Alliance? Australia-Japan Security Ties and
the Asia-Pacific, Asia Policy 20 (July 2015). p. 108.
Ishihara, Japan-Australia Defence Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region, p. 109.
Ibid. p. 109.
Ibid. p. 109.
Wilkins, op. cit. p. 108.
Ibid. p. 108.
Japan and Philippines Strengthen Maritime Security Ties, Janes Country Risk Daily Report 18, 195
(09 September 2011). p. 1.
Christian V. Esguerra, Philippines Gets Japan Support on Spratly Dispute, Tribune Business News (28
September 2011). p.
James Hookway and Yoree Koh, Japan, Philippines Seek Tighter Ties to Counter China, Wall Street
Journal (27 September 2011). p. 1
Japan and Philippines Sign Defense Pact, Janes Country Risk Daily Report (4 July 2012) 19, 134. p. 1.
Jerry E. Esplanada, Philippines, Japan to Enhance Maritime Security Ties, Philippine Daily Inquirer
(9 July 2012). p. 1
34 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

Anonymous, Philippine/Japan: Philippines, Japan Agree to Enhance Cooperation in Maritime Security,
Asia News Monitor (14 January 2013). p. 1.
Anonymous, Philippines, Japan Agree to Strengthen Defense Ties, BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific (27
June 2013). p. 2.
Embassy of Japan in Manila, Press Release on the Visit of His Excellency Mr. Itsunori Onodera,
Minister of Defense of Japan to the Philippines, (27 June 2013). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 2.
Jiji Press English News Service, Japan, Philippines to Cooperate on Chinas Air Defense Zone, Jiji
Press English News Service (13 December 2013). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
Gulf News, Aquino and Abe Discuss Maritime Disputes, Gulf News (25 June 2014).p. 1. http://search.
Ibid.p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
The Philippines News Agency (PNA), Japan Shares Philippines Serious Concern over Chinas
Reclamation Activities in West Philippines Sea, The Philippines News Agency (5 June 2015).p.1. http://search.
The Philippines News Agency (PNA),Japan Shares Philippines Serious Concern over Chinas
Reclamation Activities in the West Philippine Sea, The Philippines News Agency (PNA) (05 June 2015). p. 1.
Japan-Philippines Joint Declaration: A Strengthen Partnership for Advancing the Shared Principles
and Goals of Peace, Security, and Growth in the Region and Beyond (Tokyo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 June
Embassy of Japan, Signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government
of the Philippines concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology, Press Release (29 February
2016). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
Associated Press, Philippines to Discuss Lease of Japan Surveillance Planes, Associated Press (3 May
2016). p. 1.
The Associated Press, Japan to Supply Philippines with Military Equipment, The Associated Press (25
February 2016). p. 1.
Australia Foreign Minister to Discuss Defense Ties During Philippines Visit, BBC Monitoring Asia-
Pacific (20 October 2011) p. 1
Asia News Monitor, Philippines/United States: Aussies Plan to Join Balikatan Exercise, Asia News
Monitor (13 November 2012). p.1.
International Affairs Division, op. cit. p. 1.
Asia News Monitor, Philippines/Australia: Aquino says Philippines is Offering Australia
a Strategic Partnership, Asia News Monitor (19 October 2012). p. 1.
Ibid. p.2.
Jon Grevatt, New Philippine Leadership Outlines Priority to Invest in Counter-Insurgency Assets,
Jane Defense Weekly 53, 33 (22 June 2016). p.1.
BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific, Philippines President-Elect Says Purchase of Fighter Jets Waste of
Money, BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific (23 June 2016). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 2.
Jaime Laude, Duterte To Continue AFP Modernization Program, The Philippine Star (3 July 2016). p.
Priam Nepomuceno, Need To Upgrade Coast, Navy, Air Force Now More Urgent, Philippine News
Agency (20 July 2016). p. 1.
News Desk, AFP Modernization Remains a Priority, News Desk (18 July 2016). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
Seeking Partnership with the Philippines 35

BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific, Philippine President Vows Continue Armys Modernization, BBC
Monitoring Asia-Pacific (23 July 2016). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
Rene Acosta, Duterte Pushes for Contract to Modernize Armed Forces, Business Mirror (27 October
2016). p. 1.
Reuters, Ph Signs Contract with Korean Firms for Two Frigates, Reuters (27 October 2016). p. 1.
Gulf News, Philippines Signs Contract with South Korean Ship Builder for Two Missile Frigates, Gulf
News (27 October 2016). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
Rene Acosta, Duterte Pushed for Contract to Modernize Armed Forces, Business Mirror (27 October
2016). p.1.
Priam Nepomuceno, AFP Modernization Not Talking a Backstreet in Duterte Administration The
Philippine News Agency (19 December 2016). p. 1.
Jon Grevatt, Turning Point: Philippine Country Briefing, Jane Defense Weekly: Horley 54, 4
(December 2016). pp. 1-5.
BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific, Philippines President-Elect Says Purchase of Fighter Jets Waste of
Money, p. 2.
Mena Report, Philippines: Philippine Air Force to Boost Airpower, Capabilities Mena Report (5
October 2016). p. 1
Ibid. p. 1.
Grevatt, op. cit. pp. 1-5.
Ibid. pp. 1-5.
Philippine News Agency, AFP Hopes for Continuation of Modernization Program Under Duterte
Administration, Philippine News Agency (27 June 2016). p. 1
Xinhua News Agency, Philippine President Approves 6.7 Billion PhP Budget for 2017, Xinhua News
Agency (22 December 2016). p. 1.
Jon Grevatt, Philippine Looks to Accelerate Military Procurement, Janes Defense Weekly (30
November 2016). p. 1.
Asia News Monitor, Duterte Tells PMA Graduates to Serve Nation with Utmost Dedication, Asia
News Monitor (4 March 2017). p. 1.
See Anthony Rivera, Simply by Design, Business Mirror (28 June 2016). p.1. http://0-search.proquest.
BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific, Japan, Philippines Agree to Enhance Maritime, Security Ties, BBC
Monitoring Asia-Pacific (12 January 2017). p. 1.
Catherin Valente, Abe Offers PhP430 B Package, TCA Regional News (13 January 2017). p. 2 https://
Ibid. p. 2.
Asia News Monitor, Japan/Philippines: Duterte, Abe Eye Higher Level of Philippines-Japan Relations,
Asia News Monitor (16 January 2017). p. 2
Ralph Jennings, Japan Seeks to Limit China As Abe Visits Philippines, Voice of America News/FIND;
Lanham (13 January 2017). p. 1.
Amanda Hodge, Duterte Winds Back US, Allies Military Exercise, The Australian (9 May 2017). p. https://0-
Mena Report, Australia: Australian Defense Force Assistance to the Philippines, MENA Report (24 June 2017). p. 1.
Rene Acosta, Duterte Administration Refocusing Defense Security Priorities, Business Mirror (4 July
2016). p. 2.
Jon Grevatt, Turning Point: Philippine Country Briefing Janes Defense Weekly: Harley 54, 4 (14
December 2016).pp. 1-5.
Acosta, op. cit., p. 2.
Acosta, Refocusing Defense Priorities.. p. 1.
36 The Special Japan-Australia Strategic Partnership

The Philippines News Agency, DND Wants More Night-Capable Attack Helicopters Other Equipment
for Second Horizon, The Philippine News Agency (12 March 2017). p. 1.
Lindsay Murdoch, Duterte to Beef Up Military for Fight on All Fronts: Philippines, Sydney
Morning Herald (26 July 2017). p. 1.
Ibid. p. 1.
Philip C. Tubeza, Duterte Eyes More Troops, Fighter Jets, Philippine Daily Inquirer (07 August 2017).
p. 1. p.

ADR Institute gratefully acknowledges all those who have extended their support,
cooperation, and commitment in the development of this project. This publication
would not have materialized without their help.

We are fortunate enough to engage with insightful persons from different

sectors, namely: the academe, public and private sectors, as well as civil society
organizations, who have shared their expertise and have actively contributed to
discussions in various fora.

We would also like to thank Prof. Victor Andres Dindo Manhit, President of
the ADR Institute, for his leadership, vision, and guidance in making this endeavor

Last but not the least, we would like to thank the following for their hard work
and dedication, and for working tirelessly towards the completion of this project:

Deputy Executive Director for Research, Ms. Angelica Mangahas, and Senior
Research Associate, Ms. Weslene Uy, who both served as the editorial staff;

Our design consultant, Ms. Carol Manhit, for the publication lay-out and cover

And the rest of the ADRi team headed by Executive Director, Atty. Katrina
Clemente-Lua, Deputy Executive Director for Programs, Ms. Ma. Claudette
Guevara, Program Associate, Ms. Vanesa Lee, and External Affairs and Social
Media Associate, Ms. Krystyna Dy.

Dr. Renato Cruz De Castro is a full professor in

the International Studies Department, De La Salle
University, Manila, and holds the Charles Lui Chi
Keung Professorial Chair in China Studies. In 2016,
he was a U.S.-ASEAN Fulbright Initiative Researcher
from the Philippines, based in the East-West Center in
Washington. He is an alumnus of the Daniel Inouye
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii,

In 2009, Dr. De Castro became the U.S. State

Department ASEAN Research Fellow from the
Philippines and was based in the Political Science Department of Arizona State
University. He earned his Ph.D from the Government and International Studies
Department of the University of South Carolina as a Fulbright Scholar in 2001, and
obtained his B.A. and two masters degrees from the University of the Philippines.
Professor De Castro has conducted several courses on International Relations and
Security Studies in the National Defense College and Foreign Service Institute. He
is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert Del Rosario Institute for
Strategic and International Studies (ADR Institute).

A consultant in the National Security Council of the Philippines during the Aquino
administration, Professor De Castros research interests include Philippine-U.S.
security relations, Philippine defense and foreign policies, U.S. defense and foreign
policies in East Asia, and the international politics of East Asia.

He has written over 80 articles on international relations and security that have been
published in a number of scholarly journals and edited works in the Philippines,
South Korea, Canada, Malaysia, France, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, the United
Kingdom, Australia, and the United States.