Japanese Defense Minister, Secretary Lorenzana hold virtual meeting

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana met with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi through a video teleconference on 23 October 2020.

The two Defense Chiefs met to discuss various aspects of the defense partnership between the Philippines and Japan, especially on the two countries’ capacity-building efforts, regional security cooperation, and measures undertaken to counter the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Secretary Lorenzana conveyed the commitment of the Department of National Defense to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries, extending his invitation to Minister Kishi to visit the Philippines for an official visit when conditions improve and travel restrictions are lifted.

During the meeting, Minister Kishi also expressed Japan’s initiative to pursue cooperation for infection control measures. “We would like to share information about how to prevent the cases of infection during disaster relief activities amid the pandemic,” Minister Kishi said.

Secretary Lorenzana and Minister Kishi also agreed to further the bilateral cooperation, especially on technology transfer and capacity-building.

“I welcome the outcomes of the Philippines-Japan Joint Working Group (JWG) on Logistics and Defense Equipment and Technology Cooperation during the inaugural Defense Industry Forum last year, which served as venues for developing logistics and defense industry collaboration between our ministries,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

The two Defense ministers also discussed the various multilateral security and defense efforts facilitated through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “We recognize Japan’s efforts to support the defense initiatives of ASEAN Members States through its active engagement in the ADMM—Plus and its updated Vientiane Vision 2.0,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

Both sides also reiterated the importance of upholding the principles of freedom of navigation in the region, with Secretary Lorenzana stating that the Philippines firmly promotes addressing territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea (SCS/WPS) by peaceful means.

“We call on concerned parties to desist from any action and activity that contravenes the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), as these generate tension, mistrust and uncertainty, and threatens regional peace and stability,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

Secretary Lorenzana added that as the Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue Partnership from 2018 to 2021, “the Philippines remains firmly committed to working with other ASEAN Members and Plus Countries, and China towards the early conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct.”

The video teleconference was the first meeting between Secretary Lorenzana and Minister Kishi since the appointment of the latter as the Defense Minister of Japan on 18 September 2020. DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE