Monday Mar, 27 2023 11:55:22 PM

PH, Japan affirm defense, security cooperation

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 23:00 PM Thu Feb 9, 2023
Azer Parrocha/PNA
Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge, Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr., and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada shaking hands

JAPAN -- The Philippines and Japan on Thursday affirmed their commitment to strengthen defense and security cooperation during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s five-day official trip to Tokyo.

In a joint statement, Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said this would be done through “strategic reciprocal port calls and aircraft visits, transfer of more defense equipment and technology, continuous cooperation on previously-transferred defense equipment and capacity building.”

“In concrete terms, the leaders affirmed to strengthen efforts to complete transfer of air-surveillance radars systems, and for its related personnel training,” the statement read.

Marcos referred to Japan’s useful defense equipment transfer program, and the potential for deepening collaboration, joint work, and interoperability.

Terms of reference

The two leaders also welcomed the signing of the Terms of Reference (TOR) concerning Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Activities of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) in the Republic of the Philippines.

The TOR aims to simplify the procedures for visits to the Philippines by the JSDF, as one of the efforts to enhance and facilitate cooperation on HADR.

“The leaders concurred to continue to consider ways to further advance defense cooperation including through frameworks that will enhance and facilitate education and training exchanges as well as reciprocal visits of defense and military officials,” the statement read.

Aside from defense, other bilateral documents and agreements signed during Marcos’ official trip to Japan are cooperations in infrastructure development, agriculture, and information and communications technology.

Marcos and Kishida also welcomed the progress of bilateral defense exchanges such as through the Vice Minister's Defense Dialogue in December 2022, Staff Talks in July 2022, Japan-Philippines Military-to-Military Meeting (MM) in October 2022.

Marcos, likewise, welcomed Japan’s intention to establish a new cooperation framework for the benefit of armed forces and other related organizations of recipient countries for the purpose of deepening security cooperation.

Maritime dialogue

Marcos and Kishida also reaffirmed efforts to reinforce Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and maritime law enforcement based on international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), for the stability in the South China Sea and the Sulu–Celebes Seas, and their surrounding areas.

They affirmed the importance of regular bilateral engagements through the Maritime Dialogue, for maritime policy coordination and the effective pursuit of projects and activities, whose fifth meeting is expected in the first quarter of 2023.

Marcos welcomed Japan’s support to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) by way of implementing the memorandum of cooperation (MOC) on coast guard affairs in January 2017.

He thanked Kishida for the training and scholarships for PCG personnel and staff-to-staff programs by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and the continued dispatch of JICA experts.

The two leaders also committed to strengthening knowledge transfer and sharing Japan’s best practices, including through the “SAPPHIRE” in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Marcos also expressed satisfaction with concrete projects for the enhancement of maritime law enforcement capabilities, such as the development of a PCG Subic Bay support base, which could serve as the home of Japan-made 97-meter-class patrol vessels, and the installation of a satellite communications system on patrol vessels. (PNA)

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