Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. Pic: AP.

TOKYO (AP) — Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has endorsed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s military role.

Aquino said in Tokyo on Tuesday that the Philippines believes it would be beneficial if Japan were able to come to the assistance of allies under attack.

Abe’s ruling party is in the midst of tough negotiations with its coalition partner over Abe’s proposal to reinterpret the Japanese constitution to allow what is known as collective self-defense. The Japanese military can currently only use force to defend Japan.

Aquino’s support comes as Japan and the Philippines deepen security ties in the face of China’s military expansion and territorial disputes both countries have with China in the South and East China seas.

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