Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam on a six-day trip starting Thursday aimed at strengthening security cooperation in the face of China's rising maritime assertiveness.

Abe's Asia-Pacific tour also comes as uncertainties loom over the incoming U.S. administration's commitment to the region following the Jan. 20 inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has suggested he will shift to a protectionist trade policy.

"The trips are aimed at reaffirming the importance of the U.S. alliance network in the Asia-Pacific region and strengthening coordination with major countries in the region," a senior Japanese official said.