US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa will visit Manila next week for talks focusing on bolstering defense and economic ties.

The top-level meetings follow a series of hostilities between Chinese and Philippine ships and vessels in the disputed South China Sea, which have been denounced by the Philippines along with the United States and Japan.

At the top of their agenda is a planned trilateral summit of US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at the White House in Washington DC on April 11.

The US and Japan have also boosted their trade and investments in the Philippines while enhancing defense cooperation.