Philippines and Japan Launch Defense Vice-Ministerial Talks

With the deepening of PH-Japan defense ties, the defense establishments of the two neighbors recently had the first defense vice-ministerial consultation. Philippine Defense Undersecretary Honorio S. Azcueta had bilateral discussions with Japanese defense vice-minister Masanori Nishi at the Department of National Defense last 27 January 2014.

In their discussions, the two senior officials explored ways on how to further substantiate the Statement of Intent on Defense Cooperation signed in 2012 by Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin and then Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto. Likewise discussed were specific projects that could help build the capacity of Philippine defense forces specifically the Philippine Air Force in the areas of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HA/DR) and aviation safety.

While the Philippines conveyed the Philippines’ support for Japan’s proposal to hold an ASEAN-Japan Defense Minister Roundtable Discussion but in accordance to the consensus of the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting (ADMM), the Japanese side took the opportunity to discuss Japan’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Program Guidelines, which were both issued in December 2013.

The vice-ministerial talks complement the defense ministerial meetings which have become regular since 2012 (Secretary Gazmin visited Japan in 2012 and Minister Onodera twice visited the Philippines in 2013) as well as the annual defense and military talks at the level of the assistant secretary/director general between the two countries.