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ASEAN and Japan Vice-Ministers Meet in Sendai, Japan

The Philippines needs the support of the international community as it calls on China to abide by the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David advocated this during the Japan-ASEAN Vice-Ministerial Meeting held on September 21. The call was made in the context of China remaining recalcitrant in not recognizing and abiding by the PCA's decision fundamentally declaring China's 9-dash line as having no basis in international law specifically UNCLOS.

Convening for the 8th time and this time in Sendai, the ASEAN Vice-Ministerial Meeting focused on the current state of regional security and efforts to address common security challenges and examined areas of defense cooperation between ASEAN and Japan. USEC David was requested to share the Philippine perspective on the current regional security situation. His talk zeroed in on developments in the South China Sea where he also updated the meeting with the most current state of the Chinese-built  islands in the South China Sea.

Interestingly, the bulk of the discussions during this session centered on issues related to the South China Sea to include maritime domain awareness, efforts under UNCLOS to resolve and address the issue as well as major power activities in the area.

Among the identified areas of cooperation between ASEAN and Japan include maritime security, landmines and peacekeeping operations, international law, cybersecurity and humanitarian assistance and disaster response. 

Japan for its part proposed several areas of defense cooperation with ASEAN members ranging from education and training exchanges to defense equipment cooperation. These would most probably be considered when Japan's defense minister will have an informal meeting with the ASEAN defense ministers at the sidelines of the ADMM Retreat in November in Laos, the current chsir of ASEAN.

Joining USEC David's delegation were Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop, Commodore Danilo Rodellas who is currently the commander of the Naval Forces West, and Colonel Noel Plaza, the Philippines' defense attache to Japan.