Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday conveyed the Philippines’ commitment to strengthen its strategic partnership with Japan.
He made this assurance during a video teleconference with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
“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,” the DND said in a statement.
Also discussed in the meeting were 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.
In the video teleconference, Kishi also expressed Japan’s initiative to pursue cooperation on infection control measures.
“We would like to share information about how to prevent the cases of infection during disaster relief activities amid the pandemic,” the Japanese defense minister said.
Lorenzana and Kishi also agreed to further 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,” Lorenzana said.
Both 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 Member States through its active engagement in the ADMM—Plus and its updated Vientiane Vision 2.0,” Lorenzana said. The ADMM-Plus is the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting with its eight Dialogue Partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States to strengthen security and defense cooperation in the region.
Both sides also reiterated the importance of upholding the principles of freedom of navigation in the region, with 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,” Lorenzana said.
He also 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 Lorenzana and Kishi since the latter’s appointment as Japan’s defense chief on September 18. PNA.GOV.PH