China's Defense Minister Visits PH

Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin received on May 23, 2011 General Liang Guanglie, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China. During General Guanglie’s courtesy call on Secretary Gazmin, both officials shared their views on various regional security issues and highlighted the necessity of working together to address them. Both ministers noted how climate change, for example, compels all states to cooperate with each other in managing and responding to its effects, which the entire Asia-Pacific region is now experiencing.

Their discussions also emphasized that both the Philippines and China put premium in a peaceful region that is conducive to the development goals of both countries. Both ministers acknowledged the need to ensure that the South China Sea remains stable and recognized the usefulness of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed in 2002 by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) where the Philippines is a member. Both ministers expressed hope that the implementing guidelines of the 2002 Declaration would soon be finalized and agreed that responsible behaviour of all parties to the South China Sea issue would help keep the area stable while all parties work for the peaceful resolution of the issue. Secretary Gazmin emphasized that unilateral actions which could cause alarm should be avoided. It is also useful to continuously build confidence and cultivate trust between their respective defense ministries and armed forces.

General Guanglie heads a Chinese delegation which is on a three country visit to Southeast Asia. The Philippines is the third country to be visited by the delegation before returning to China. Visits of defense officials and exchange of military delegations are activities agreed upon in the Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation concluded between the defense ministries of the Philippines and China in 2004. Both ministries also agreed to regularly hold dialogues to promote trust and build confidence between each other. Cooperation in meeting non-traditional security challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response is one area also provided in the 2004 MOU.