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2nd Foreign and Defence Meeting between Japan and the Philippines

Japan’s Defence Minister Minoru Kihara met with his Philippine counterpart, the Secretary of National Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr., in the 2nd Philippines-Japan Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”). The meeting was held in Manila on 8 July 2024. The meeting followed the inaugural 2+2 held in Tokyo on 9 April 2022. Other dignitaries in the meeting were the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Philipinnes, Enrique A. Manalo, and Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kamikawa Yoko. The ministers discussed the current global security situation and pondered global and regional issues in the South China Sea, Taiwan, the East China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula.

The ministers underscored the importance of the international community vocally urging for global stability following the rule of law. They also emphasized their commitment to maintaining the freedom of overflight and navigation per the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). Japan and the Philippines have decided to continue coordination to encourage compliance with international law, especially the UNCLOS. The ministers highlighted the importance of stability across the Taiwan Strait and urged a peaceful solution to cross-Strait issues.

The Philippines appreciated Japan’s aid in the coastal surveillance radar systems per the Official Security Assistance (OSA). It would significantly enhance the capabilities of the Philippine Armed Forces. The OSA symbolises Japan and the Philippines’ robust defence and security cooperation. Both countries agreed to continue cooperation in maritime and air domain awareness and include other like-minded nations.

The ministers signed the Philippines-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) to facilitate cooperation and reciprocal access between the Philippines’ Armed Forces and Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. The Philippines-Japan RAA is a significant milestone in the defence relations between both nations, and the Agreement will further strengthen their cooperation. The ministers agreed to promote bilateral and multilateral exercises in defence equipment and technology to enhance interoperability between the armed forces of Japan and the Philippines. The potential of the Japan-US-Australia-Philippines Defense Ministers’ Meeting, the Japan-US-Australia-Philippines Quadrilateral Exercise, and the Japan-US-Canada-Philippines Quadrilateral Exercise were also discussed. Moreover, the ministers agreed to promote collaboration in cybersecurity and open, secure, interoperable, reliable, and trusted telecommunications networks. It includes the Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN).

The Philippines acknowledged Japan’s contribution to the Mindanao Peace Process socioeconomic development service on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) issues. The Philippines also appreciated Japan’s Vientiane Vision 2.0 as well as the Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Initiative for Enhanced Defense Cooperation (JASMINE), symbolic of Japan’s commitment to the ASEAN centrality.

The ministers highlighted the importance of bilateral and trilateral cooperation with the United States in maintaining global stability and international order. They were keen to expand the strategic collaboration between Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States by conducting Maritime Cooperative Activity to maintain a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).