Metro Manila, Philippines –President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the proposed Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between the Philippines and Japan will help keep the peace in the West Philippine Sea as China continues to escalate tensions in the disputed waters.

During his bilateral meeting with Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the chief executive said the RAA will boost maritime cooperation between the two countries, and facilitate the procedures and set guidelines when Philippine forces visit Japan for training and joint exercises, and vice versa.

“That is something that I believe is very, very significant and that it will bring to us greater capacity to maintain the peace in [the South China Sea],” Marcos said in his preliminary remarks during his talk with Kishida on the sidelines of the 50th Commemorative Summit of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in Tokyo on Sunday.

Similar to the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, the RAA will allow troops from one country to freely visit another temporarily. The Philippines and Japan began the formal negotiations for the establishment of the legal basis for the troops of both two nations in late November.

He said both leaders agreed that the deal will allow the Philippines and Japan to boost their capability not only in terms of security, but also disaster preparedness.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines, Japan’s Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs Noriyuki Shikata said security ties between Japan and the Philippines will include providing radar systems for coastal surveillance.

The Senate earlier said it hopes to approve the proposed RAA between the Philippines and Japan in 2024.