Philippines, Japan to hold mutual visits between troops under new defense pact

Philippines, Japan to hold mutual visits between troops under new defense pact

HIGH-ranking officials from the Defense Ministries of both the Philippines and Japan personally attended the signing of the Reciprocal Access Agreement between the two countries.

The agreement strengthens military cooperation between the Philippines and Japan through exchanges of military drills and exercises beneficial to soldiers from both nations.

According to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, this agreement holds significant importance for the Japanese government, not only in terms of economics and trade but also in ensuring the safety and security of their territories from potential regional threats.

 “Once again, we thank the government of Japan for the assistance rendered to us in several fields. Our bilateral relations, as the president has said, are very strong in traditional fields such as the economy and trade, but this year we add another dimension to our already strong bilateral relations by adding the vital aspect of security, which creates a holistic dimension or adds a holistic dimension to our bilateral relations. It will also add to the multilateral efforts that both our governments are doing to make sure that our region respects the rule of international laws,” said Sec. Gilberto Teodoro, DND.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was first formed in April 2022 during the Philippines-Japan Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan views the advancement of defense cooperation and exchanges with the Philippines as crucial, given the strategic locations of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations

“The Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations are situated in a very strategically important region placed in a key junction of Japan’s sea lanes. Advancing defense cooperation and exchanges with the Philippines is important for Japan,” said Minister Minuro Kihara, Defense Ministry, Japanese Self-Defense Force.

Earlier, the Philippines invited Japan to participate in the recently concluded Balikatan exercises between Filipino and American soldiers, however, Japan declined the invitation.

Recently, Japan expressed concern for Filipinos following the incident involving the Chinese Coast Guard and Filipino soldiers during a resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal.

The Philippines’ Defense Department continues to assert that it will not concede any territory to China, maintaining its stance on the West Philippine Sea as part of its sovereign territory.

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