Japan cuts big deals with ASEAN — with one eye on Beijing (Matthew Kendrick, 12/17/23, GZero)

Tokyo committed to an implementation plan for over 130 projects with ASEAN, covering everything from the green economy transformation to cybersecurity to arms technology and equipment transfers.

The joint leaders statement also contained language regarding “respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity” and the “renunciation of the threat or use of force” — clear references to China’s activities in the South China Sea.

In a separate bilateral deal, Indonesia will get $63.7 million to bolster its maritime security and a Japanese-built patrol boat to boot.

Similarly, Malaysia will get $2.8 million for “warning and surveillance” gear as part of a Japanese program to bolster law enforcement and security in friendly countries.

The Philippines’ coast guard agreed to cooperate more closely with Japan’s. Manila also received advanced Japanese radars last month and is in talks with Tokyo over a formal military pact that could allow mutual troop deployments and training.

Also last month, Japan and Vietnam elevated their mutual relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” and are discussing a potential military deal.