PHL, United States and Japan step up defense diplomacy


Manila is stepping up its defense diplomacy with Washington, D.C., and Tokyo early next year by holding high-level talks among their respective foreign affairs and defense secretaries in the light of the increasing tension with China in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

The PHL-US Two-Plus-Two Ministerial Dialogue will take place during the first half of 2022, before President Duterte steps down from office.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will meet their counterparts US State Secretary Anthony Blinken and Lloyd Austin. The Two-Plus-Two Ministerial Dialogue will also be complemented by other high-level visits and meetings, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

“I was very pleased with their firm assurances that the United States continues to regard the Philippines as a crucial ally in the region, and that it stands ready to support the Philippines, including against armed attacks on our armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific,” Locsin said in a news statement.

“We are proud to stand with you and we are very proud to see how you stood for international law,” DFA quoted the US official as saying.

Meanwhile, in a phone call, Locsin spoke with his new Japanese counterpart Hayashi Yoshimasa last December 8.

Both ministers agreed to promote “the early launch” of the 2+2 meeting or the Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting “for deeper security engagement and coordination” between the two countries. Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio agreed to hold this 2+2 meeting.

During the phone call, Hayashi “expressed his strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change by force the status quo in the East and South China Seas.”

Locsin said that the Philippines “values Japan’s statements of support for the Arbitral Award”—which nullifies China’s claim for maritime rights over the South China Sea.

Locsin said Japan’s support for international law-based order in South China Sea sends “a message of respect for outcomes of diplomatic and legal processes, as well as strengthen the legal order over the seas.”

Locsin echoed President Duterte’s statement at the 13th Asem Summit Retreat that, “there can be no other acceptable basis for a just maritime order but the law, particularly the 1982 Unclos. All countries—big and small—must adhere to the rule of law faithfully and consistently. Otherwise, there will be chaos.”

The two ministers also exchanged views on various regional and multilateral issues such as developments in Myanmar, the issue on North Korea, including support for measures to address the abduction of Japanese nationals, and the two countries’ commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Locsin recalled that he was actually the first to raise the abduction issue in the United Nations. He reiterated the contry’s support and cooperation on this issue.

Advancing concrete cooperation to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and on the Asean Outlook for the Indo-Pacific was, likewise, discussed. The ministers also agreed to cooperate on the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Asean-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in 2023.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

Leave a Reply