Japan, Philippine to Boost Defence Cooperation

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TOKYO/MANILA — The Philippines and Japan on Feb 9 affirmed their commitment to strengthen defence and security cooperation, including transfer of more defence equipment, during President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr’s five-day official trip to Tokyo.

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

“In concrete terms, the leaders affirmed to strengthen efforts to complete the transfer of air-surveillance radars systems, and for its related personnel training,” the joint statement said, referring to Japan’s defence equipment transfer programme, and the potential for deepening collaboration, joint work, and interoperability.

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-Defence Forces (JSDF) in 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.

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.

The two leaders 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. — shp/mhi/mgm (Photo of joint exercise off Tawi-Tawi/JMSDF)