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Freedom of navigation discussed during virtual meeting today

Defense Secretary Lorenzana “meets” Japanese Minister Kishi

MANILA – Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana engaged Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi in a video teleconference today.

In a statement released by the Department of National Defense late Friday afternoon, it was learned the two Defense officials discussed different aspects of the defense partnership between the Philippines and Japan with due emphasis on capacity-building efforts, regional security cooperation, and measures made to counter coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Secretary Lorenzana expressed the Department’s commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries and extending his invitation to Minister Kishi to visit the Philippines for an official visit when conditions improve and travel restrictions are finally lifted.

During the same meeting, Minister Kishi expressed his country’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.

Both Defense officials agreed to further bilateral cooperation particular 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 was quoted saying.

They also discussed the various multilateral security and defense efforts facilitated by way of 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,” Secretary Lorenzana added.

They agreed on the importance of upholding the principles of freedom of navigation in the region with Secretary Lorenzana saying the Philippines firmly promotes addressing territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea (SCS/WPS) by peaceful means.

Secretary Lorenzana called 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).” He added contrary activities would generate tension, mistrust and uncertainty and even threatens regional peace and stability.

Secretary Lorenzana said 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 between the two Defense officials since Minister Kishi’s appointment as Defense Minister last September 18,2020.

Japan is also a part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with Australia, India and the United States of America established in 2017.(

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana "meets" his Japanese counterpart Minister Nobuo Kishi today where they discussed issues of mutual interest. (DND Contributed Photo)

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