PH, Japan agree to strengthen defense ties after 2+2 talks

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MANILA – After the inaugural 2+2 talks conducted in Tokyo on Saturday, the Philippines and Japan are seeking to strengthen their overall defense relations.

The foreign and defense ministers of the two nations agreed to increase engagements through capacity and capability building, transfer of more defense equipment and technology, and continuous cooperation on previously-transferred defense equipment, among others.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two nations are likewise poised to “start considering” frameworks to facilitate reciprocal visits as well as reciprocal provision of supplies and services to boost Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s partnership.

“Going forward, the Japanese side will proceed with deliberations, including on the possibilities of concluding a reciprocal access agreement and an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement,” it said.

The four ministers also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and their surrounding areas in the fields of maritime safety, connectivity enhancement, human resource development, anti-piracy, counterterrorism, and the prevention of violent extremism, according to a joint statement released by the Philippines.

Moreover, they reaffirmed the importance of support for the Mindanao peace process.

They also agreed to bolster bilateral cooperation on economic security after collectively opposing the use of “economic coercion” to achieve political objectives.

The inaugural Philippine-Japan Foreign and Defense Ministerial (2+2) Talks in Tokyo were hailed as a significant milestone that laid the groundwork for the next decade of the two countries’ decade-old Strategic Partnership.

“We have achieved a substantive clarification of all the issues and in many of them produced consensus. The security ties we are developing are much less than those of an alliance but much more than a cordial relationship,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in his closing remarks.

During the talks, Locsin is joined by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.