Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday wrapped up a three-day trip to Southeast Asia, where he sought to strengthen Japan's security and defense ties with Malaysia and the Philippines, both of which are expected to benefit from Tokyo’s recently launched military aid program.

The visits, Kishida’s first to each country as prime minister, are part of Tokyo’s efforts to expand and bolster its network of security partners amid growing concerns that its defense alliance with the United States won't be enough to counterbalance China's growing military might.

At a joint news conference near Kuala Lumpur alongside Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday, Kishida said the two leaders had discussed “accelerating coordination to implement” Tokyo’s new Official Security Assistance program — though it was not immediately clear how much progress the two sides had made.