Lorenzana meets with foreign envoys
MANILA, Philippines—At least three ambassadors came calling on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana early this month, bringing to the table a host of issues ranging from the South China Sea dispute to and a commitment of readiness to supply coronavirus vaccines.
According to a statement of the Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday (Jan. 25), the ambassadors of Japan, Canada and Russia met with Lorenzana separately.
For two days—Jan. 13 to 14—Japanese Ambassador Kashikawa Kazuhiko, Canadian Ambassador Peter MacArthur and Russian Ambassador Marat I. Pavlov discussed various issues with Lorenzana.
The Japanese and Canadian ambassadors discussed the South China Sea dispute.
Koshikawa reiterated Japan’s appeal for a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes that would preserve freedom of navigation and open sea lanes.
Koshikawa and Lorenzana, according to the DND statement, also talked about the “robust defense relations” between the Philippines and Japan with 2002 marking the 65th anniversary of relations between the two countries.
MacArthur discussed Canada’s opposition to unilateral action in the South China Sea that could escalate tensions and undermine stability in the area. He also talked with Lorenzana about the use of force, large-scale reclamation and construction of infrastructure in the disputed waters, the DND said.
The Canadian ambassador also expressed hope there would be more military engagements between Canada, the Philippines and other Asean countries.
Russian ambassador Pavlov expressed readiness to supply the vaccine Sputnik to the Philippines to express Russia’s gratitude to the DND’s help in repatriating Russian nationals trapped in the Philippines by COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Russian Navy also wanted to do a port call in the Philippines to celebrate the 45th year of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Russia.
The DND said Lorenzana also had a phone call with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to discuss security issues at the maritime borders of the Philippines and Indonesia.
The two defense chiefs reaffirmed commitment to stronger cooperation for security in the region, the DND said.
Subianto also requested Philippine military officers involved in quelling the Islamic State bid to take over Marawi City in 2017 to share their experiences with Indonesian military officers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.