AFP talks with US, Japan militaries over security concerns
The Armed Forces of the Philippines recently met with its American and Japanese counterparts at Camp Aguinaldo for trilateral joint staff talks that sought to find ways to improve interoperability, and bring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Without directly mentioning China’s expansionist claims, the officials expressed concerns over gray-zone activities, particularly at the East and South China Seas, during a meeting at Camp Aguinaldo on July 13.
They also reaffirmed shared commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas as well as a rules-based approach to resolving competing claims in maritime areas within the framework of international law, the AFP said in a statement on Thursday.
The officials, led by the AFP’s Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hechanova, Japan Self-Defense Forces’ Rear Adm. Hiroshi Egawa and US Indo-Pacific Command’s Brig. Gen. Jennifer Short, also discussed the impact of climate change and natural disasters.
The next trilateral talks will be held in Japan next year.
The AFP also met its Japanese and American counterparts separately for bilateral talks.
Hechanova and Short held a two-day executive committee meeting of the Mutual-Defense Board-Security Engagement Board also last week at Camp Aguinaldo to plan their future military activities. Another meeting will he held in Hawaii in September.
Hechanova held a two-day military cooperation working group staff talks with Egawa last week in which they had an “in-depth exchange on how to increase bilateral cooperation … and advance strategic partnerships,” the AFP said.
The two officials also visited the 580th Air Control and Warning Wing, where the Mitsubishi Air Radar System from Japan will be deployed.
Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Tsuyohito Iwamoto, who met top defense and military officials during his two-day visit to the Philippines early this week, vowed to assist the military’s capability upgrade.
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