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PH and NZ Convene Bilateral Defense Talks

The Philippines remains committed in deepening its defense relations with New Zealand. This was stressed by Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo Luna to New Zealand’s Secretary of Defense Helen Quilter during the Bilateral Defense Talks (BDT) held in Manila on 6 March 2017. The PH and NZ have a bilateral defense cooperation agreement signed in 2012.

Noting that bilateral relations are pursued within the ambit of multilateral platforms particularly the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus and acknowledging New Zealand’s contributions in building the capacity of PH defense forces, Usec Luna underscored the need pursue bilateral cooperative exchanges.

Secretary Quilter conveyed that New Zealand looks forward to working with the Philippines once more as co-chair for 2017-2020 of the newly established ADMM-Plus Expert Working Group on Cyber Security. The secretary recalled how the co-chairmanship of the Philippines and New Zealand in 2011-2014 of the ADMM-Plus EWG on Peacekeeping Operations resulted in productive undertakings that contributed in enhancing the capacity of ADMM-Plus members pursue peacekeeping operations.

Provided with an out brief of the Mutual Assistance Program (MAP) Talks held earlier in the morning by their respective military officials, Usec Luna and Secretary Quilter commended the resulting program of action crafted by the two sides, noting the shared sense by the New Zealand and AFP representatives that the MAP Talks was a tangible manifestation of the common desire to reinvigorate mil-to-mil interaction. The talks took full cognizance of the needs of the AFP given the changed security environment and what NZ could offer given recent developments in the strategic landscape.

Beyond assessing the current state of bilateral defense relations and exploring ways to move the relationship forward, both defense officials likewise exchanged view on matters of common concern to include maritime security, the interactions of major powers in the Asia-Pacific and combating terrorism and violent extremism.

Secretary Quilter thanked Usec Luna for the Undersecretary’s clear, frank and candid exposition of Philippine position and views regarding these matters. The Undersecretary of National Defense conveyed appreciation to Secretary Quilter for taking the time to head the New Zealand delegation, especially since the Bilateral Defense Talks last convened in 2012. The talks this morning is therefore an indication of the resolve of both sides to move the relationship forward.

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