Philippines, UK sign agreement on defense cooperation framework

Philippines, UK sign agreement on defense cooperation framework

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINES and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed an agreement to craft a framework for defense and security cooperation, a move aimed at solidifying the foundation for increased collaboration between the two nations.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that Ambassador to the UK Teodoro K. Locsin, Jr. and the Earl of Minto Timothy Minto signed the deal between the Philippines’ Department National Defense (DND) and the UK’s Ministry of Defence last Jan. 11.

“The memorandum of understanding is aimed at providing a framework for enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of defense, including on defense and military education,” the DFA said.

“Ambassador Locsin and The Earl of Minto hailed the MOU as an opportunity to further develop defense cooperation between the two countries,” it added.

The DFA said the framework also outlines training and capacity building, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, weapons, as well as research and technology.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. told reporters that the Philippines is also eyeing to sign an agreement with Japan that would allow the deployment of military forces on each other’s territories.

Manila and Tokyo already started negotiations on a reciprocal troop access pact late last year, amid tensions with China over a territorial row in the South China Sea.

Likewise, the Philippines is working on a deal to enhance security cooperation with Canada.

Meanwhile, Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said the government should review if it should keep adhering to the One China Policy, after China summoned the Philippine ambassador there on Tuesday over President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s congratulatory remarks to the newly elected leader of Taiwan.

“In any case, China has no business telling Filipinos what to say or not,” the senator said in a statement in mixed English and Filipino. “As I’ve called for before, we must review this so-called One China Policy.”