The Philippines and Japan are seeking to further strengthen their overall defense relations following the inaugural 2+2 talks held in Tokyo on Saturday.
The two nations’ foreign and defense ministers agreed to increase engagements through capacity and capability building, transfer of more defense equipment and technology, and continuous cooperation on previously-transferred defense equipment, among others.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two nations are likewise poised to “start considering” frameworks to facilitate reciprocal visits as well as reciprocal provision of supplies and services to boost Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s partnership.
“Going forward, the Japanese side will proceed with deliberations, including on the possibilities of concluding a reciprocal access agreement and an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement,” it said.
In a joint statement released by the Philippines, the four ministers also agreed to enhance cooperation in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and their surrounding areas in the fields of maritime safety, connectivity enhancement, human resources development, anti-piracy, counterterrorism, and prevention of violent extremism.
They also reaffirmed the importance of support to the Mindanao peace process.
Further, they decided to strengthen bilateral cooperation in promoting economic security after collectively opposing “economic coercion” as means to achieve political ends.
The inaugural Philippine-Japan Foreign and Defense Ministerial (2+2) Talks in Tokyo were described as a significant milestone that laid the groundwork for the next decade of the two nations’ decade-old Strategic Partnership.
“We have achieved a substantive clarification of all the issues and in many of them produced consensus. The security ties we are developing are much less than those of an alliance but much more than a cordial relationship,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in his closing remarks.
Locsin is joined by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi during the talks.