Defense secretary holds teleconferences with Japan, China, Australia counterparts

Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana held several teleconferences with his counterparts from Japan, China and Australia to discuss various concerns affecting their respective countries.

Secretary Lorenzana and Minister Taro Kono, Defense Minister of Japan, held a conference call on 12 May 2020, to exchange experiences and best practices in addressing the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) situation, particularly the measures undertaken by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) in their own countries.

The two Ministers also discussed the security situation in the region, namely in the South China Sea and East China Sea, as well as ways on how to further enhance bilateral defense cooperation based on common goals of peace, security, and growth in the region.

During his phone call meeting with General Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Defense Minister of the People’s Republic of China, on 20 May 2020, Secretary Lorenzana expressed his appreciation for the donation of medical supplies and equipment worth RMB 2 million that was turned over on 12 May.

Both sides committed to sustain dialogues amidst the pandemic and strengthen cooperation between the two defense establishments in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations this year.

On 21 May 2020, Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds informed Secretary Loreznana of the intent of the Australian Government, through the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program (E-DCP), to support the procurement of hospital equipment amounting to AUD 1M for a 30-bed expansion of the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC) Infectious Disease Ward.

“We are very thankful for this assistance to the V. Luna Medical Center, Madame Minister, and we hope to see its completion in the near future so that we can use it for the purpose it was being built,” Secretary Lorenzana said, expressing appreciation for the donation from the Australian Government.

Minister Reynolds also conveyed her gratitude for the Philippine Government’s support to evacuate Australians from the Philippines and commended the leadership in implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) against COVID-19.

Both Ministers expressed concern on other security matters that include terrorism and overall regional security. DND