Phl, Vietnam agree to boost defense cooperation

MANILA, Philippines - Defense officials of the Philippines and Vietnam have agreed to explore ways to boost the defense cooperation between their countries.

The Defense department said Wednesday that the matter was discussed during the meeting of the Joint Defense Cooperation Working Group of the two countries last week in Manila.

“The meeting served as a mechanism for reviewing bilateral defense cooperation leading to a discussion of specific proposals on how to enhance defense cooperation between the two countries,” the department said in a statement.

“With a Memorandum of Agreement on Defense Cooperation signed in 2010, both sides identified mechanisms to substantiate the agreement,” it added.

The mechanisms include “practical cooperative activities” in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and the east that seek to enhance confidence among their respective personnel.

The West Philippine Sea has been the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute in the region. China claims virtually the entire area while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.

Other mechanisms being considered include defense and military officials exchanges, personnel exchanges, information-sharing, analyst-to-analyst exchanges.

The two countries also exchanged updates on the situation in the West Philippine Sea and other regional issues.

“The Philippines emphasized the importance it accords to the peaceful approach to the issue and stressed that it is principle that underpins the country’s decision to bring the matter to the International Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas,” the Defense department said.

Defense Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop led the Philippine delegation while Maj. Gen. Vu Chien Than, director of the foreign relations department of Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense headed the Vietnamese contingent. – Alexis Romero


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