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MANILA, Philippines – Tokyo played host to the first-ever Philippine-US-Japan-Australia Joint Service Staff Talks from November 28 to December 1.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said in a press statement that the discussions sought to “further deepen discussion on upholding a rules-based international order.”
Talks “focused on regional issues of common interest and more opportunities to expand cooperation.”
The four nations held defense ministerial meeting in Singapore in June 2023.
The AFP said the following persons led the talks:
- Air Vice-Marshal Michael Kitcher, Deputy Chief Joint Operations, Australian Defense Forces
- Major General Nobutaka Minamikawa, Defense Plans and Policy Department, J5, Japan Self-Defense Force
- Major General Jay Bargeron, Director for Strategic Planning and Policy Directorate, J5, US Indo-Pacific Command
- Brigadier General Rommel Cordova, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, AJ5, AFP
“The AFP’s participation here is another demonstration of its commitment to its alliance and partnership with like-minded nations, particularly in protecting Philippine defense and security interests in the Indo-Pacific region,” said the AFP.
The meeting comes just days after the Philippines wrapped up back-to-back Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) with the United States, and then Australia over Philippine waters and its exclusive economic zone, including the West Philippine Sea.
Japan and the Philippines are also in negotiations to sign a Reciprocal Access Agreement, which would allow troop deployments from both countries for joint drills and exercises. Manila has existing Visiting Forces Agreements with the United States and Australia.
Closer ties among the militaries of the four nations are backdropped by the increase of China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com