Japan, Philippines Deepen Strategic Partnership

TOKYO/MANILA – Japan and the Philippines held a vice-ministerial dialogue where the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen their political and security coordination.

Held in Manila on Sept. 7, the meeting was led by Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shigeo Yamada and Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs Ma. Theresa Lazaro.

“Opinions were expressed on bilateral cooperation on security and economy, and cooperation on regional and international issues such as the situation in the East and South China Seas, the situation in Ukraine, the abductions, nuclear and missile issues of North Korea, and the situation in Myanmar,” Tokyo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Thursday.

It added, “Both sides shared the view that they will continue to work together to further strengthen and make concrete progress in the strategic partnership between the two countries under the Marcos administration.”

In a separate statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila, said that the delegations exchanged views on food security, energy security, space and health, and cybersecurity “in a bid to make the relations more responsive to the challenges of the ever-evolving security environment.”

It further stated that the representatives of the two goverments recalled the “rocket start” of the bilateral relations under the new administrations in the Philippines and Japan, and expressed desire to make use of such momentum in bringing the strategic partnership to “new heights.”

The DFA also noted that the Philippine side acknowledged Japan’s important contribution to the country’s infrastructure development, and to Mindanao through various socio-economic programs.

“These are key to ensuring that the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, contributes to the overall peace and stability in the region by building resilience against economic recession and security challenges,” it said.

Moreover, Japan reaffirmed its support for ASEAN processes and ASEAN centrality, as both countries prepare for the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations in 2023.

This is the 5th Japan-Philippines Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue (VMSD), with the last meeting held in Tokyo on June 14, 2018. - FJJ

(Article cover photo: Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro and Senior Deputy Minister Yamada Shigeo head the delegation of the 5th Philippines-Japan Vice Ministerial Strategic Dialogue | DFA-OPCD Photo by Philip Fernandez)