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Japan, U.S., Philippines to cooperate over South China Sea situation

Japan, the United States and the Philippines on Wednesday agreed to jointly address unilateral attempts to change the status quo, the Japanese government said, apparently with China's growing military activities and territorial claims in the South China Sea in mind.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr also pledged to further strengthen the three nations' cooperation "in various forms" during their brief talks in Jakarta, according to the Foreign Ministry.

They met when attending the gala dinner for the three days of summits related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Indonesian capital through Thursday, the ministry said.

The talks were held as Washington and two of its security allies, Tokyo and Manila, have been boosting ties to counter Beijing's maritime assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region against the backdrop of U.S.-China rivalry.

In the East and South China seas, Japan and the Philippines have also faced challenges related to China's territorial claims.

Kishida, Harris and Marcos, as well as Chinese Premier Li Qiang, are set to attend the 18-member East Asia Summit on Thursday, which brings together ASEAN leaders and their counterparts from the association's regional partners, which also include Australia, India, New Zealand, Russia and South Korea.