US–Japan–Philippines Summit: Strengthening Deterrence or Exacerbating Conflict?

On April 11, U.S. President Joe Biden will host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in Washington for the first U.S.-Japan-Philippines trilateral summit. The summit aims to tighten and institutionalize trilateral cooperation to counter China’s regional assertiveness. The three countries have already agreed to conduct regular joint maritime patrols in the South China Sea and will be looking to further deepen ties.

This partnership marks another advance in the broad U.S. aim of leveraging its bilateral alliances into “minilateral” arrangements to counterbalance China—following the emergence of the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) and Japan-U.S.-South Korea trilaterals and the U.S.-Japan-India-Australia Quad. As American initiatives for international cooperation are increasingly focused on isolating China, what are the implications for regional security in the Asia-Pacific? Will they deter Chinese aggression and promote regional stability as intended, or will they reinforce escalatory dynamics and push the region toward open conflict? 

The Quincy Institute held a discussion to dive into these questions, featuring Mike Mochizuki, non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute and Japan-U.S. Relations Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University, and Sarang Shidore, director of the Global South program at the Quincy Institute. Jake Werner, acting director of the East Asia program at the Quincy Institute, moderated the conversation.


Sarang Shidore

Sarang Shidore is Director of the Global South Program at the Quincy Institute, and a senior non-resident fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty at George Washington University, where he teaches a class on the geopolitics of climate change. His areas of research and analysis are geopolitical risk, grand strategy, and climate security, with a special emphasis on the Global South and Asia. Sarang has more than 100 publications to his credit in journals, edited volumes, and media outlets in his areas of expertise, including in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Nation, South China Morning Post, Council on Foreign Relations and others.

Mike Mochizuki

Mike Mochizuki is the Japan-US Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute. He co-directs the “Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific” project of the Sigur Center. Mochizuki was Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the Elliott School from 2010 to 2014 and Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies from 2001 to 2005. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. His recent books include "Memory, Identity, and Commemorations of World War II: Anniversary Politics in Asia Pacific" (co-editor and co-author, 2018) and "Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia"(co-editor and co-author, 2017).

Jake Werner

Jake Werner is the Acting Director of the East Asia program at the Quincy Institute. His research examines the emergence of great power conflict between the U.S. and China and develops policies to rebuild constructive economic relations. Prior to joining Quincy, Jake was a Postdoctoral Global China Research Fellow at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, a Harper-Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago, a Fulbright Scholar at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, and a Fulbright-Hays Fellow at East China Normal University in Shanghai. He is a cofounder of Critical China Scholars, a network of academics engaged in public education on Chinese politics and society.