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Philippines to step up ties with U.S.-Japan-Australia coalition

New defense arrangement includes cooperation in South China Sea

The defense chiefs from Australia, Japan, the Philippines and the U.S. met on the sidelines of the conference. (Photo by Ryo Nakamura)

SINGAPORE -- The U.S., Japan, Australia and the Philippines held their first-ever quadrilateral defense chief talks in Singapore on Saturday amid growing challenges posed by China in the South China Sea and in the waters around Taiwan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada met with their Australian and Philippine counterparts, Richard Marles and Carlito Galvez, on the sideline of the Asia security forum known as Shangri-La Dialogue.

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