U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday pledged closer defense and security cooperation with the Philippines during a two-day visit to Manila that also helps pave the way for the countries’ first trilateral summit with Japan next month.

Washington confirmed that the summit between U.S. President Joe Biden, Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will take place on April 11 at the White House during the latter’s state visit to the United States, as the three partners look to ramp up efforts to counter what they see as growing Chinese assertiveness in disputed waters.

At the meeting, the three leaders will discuss expanding trilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including the economy, emerging technologies and climate, as well as “peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” according to the White House.