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Japan and the Philippines will hold their first ministerial security talks on Saturday in Tokyo to enhance cooperation in countering China’s increasing maritime assertiveness in the South and East China seas, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Tuesday.

The so-called two-plus-two talks involving the countries’ foreign and defense ministers come as the Philippines faces overlapping territorial claims with Beijing in the South China Sea. China also has been routinely sending ships to the East China Sea to waters near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyu.

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