Pol-Mil Meeting between PH and Japan Held

The Philippines and Japan had a political-military meeting on April 16. Convened for the 7th time, foreign affairs and defense officials from both countries apprised each other their respective national security policies. While the Philippines shared its national security policy and defense policy with emphasis on the thrust of upgrading the capability of its armed forces and enhancing the capacity of defense and military personnel, Japan provided an overview of its 2013-released national security strategy, national defense program guidelines, mid-term defense program and the April 2014-issued principles of transfer of defense equipment and technology.

The two sides also exchanged notes on regional issues to include developments in the West Philippines Sea/South China Sea and the East Sea, stressing the need to intensify bilateral cooperation in addressing these concerns. Also discussed was the lingering nuclear program of North Korea that is a source of tension in the Korean Peninsula. Relatedly, Japan provided an update about the non-proliferation and disarmament initiative spearheaded by Japan and Australia, which had its 8th ministerial meeting on 11-12 April in Hiroshima, Japan. The Philippines shared updates on the on-going negotiations for an agreement on enhanced defense cooperation between the Philippines and US.

The PH-Japan meeting stressed the necessity of further enhancing bilateral cooperation on the areas of humanitarian assistance/disaster response, maritime security, cyber and space security while acknowledging the utility of ensuring productive involvement in regional security cooperation mechanisms to include the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus. With a Statement of Intent on Defense Cooperation signed in 2012 between the PH and Japan, the two sides are now exploring the prospects of forging a memorandum of understanding on further deepening their bilateral defense cooperation.