Malaysia, Philippines defense chiefs meet to strengthen bilateral ties
MANILA, Philippines—The defense chiefs of Malaysia and Philippines met on Wednesday at Camp Aguinaldo to strengthen bilateral ties and to discuss the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other issues.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Minister Defense of Malaysia YB Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein exchanged views on regional and global security challenges and committed to strengthen defense cooperation between the Philippines and Malaysia, the Department of National Defense said in a statement.
The two defense ministers met amid China’s aggressiveness in the disputed waters. Both are claimants to the resource-rich West Philippine Sea, including China, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.
“At the meeting, the two ministers reaffirmed the importance of promoting peace, security and stability, maritime security, unimpeded trade and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea,” the statement said.
Both sides agreed that disputes in the West Philippine Sea should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Malaysian defense minister also invited Gazmin to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers’ Meeting and the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition on March 15-16 and 17-21 in Malaysia.
The two countries also expressed concern over the terroristic attacks of Islamic State and other extremist groups Iraq and Syria.
They also agreed to strengthen mutually beneficial efforts to enhance disaster risk reduction and disaster response, the statements said.
Both countries also encouraged their respective militaries to pursue more opportunities for engagement in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster response, peacekeeping, maritime security and military medicine.
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