May 062013


MANILA, Philippines – Notwithstanding territorial disputes, Philippines and China discussed “evolving regional security situation” and bilateral defense relations among others in its talks recently.

“This year’s talks enabled the two sides to exchange views on the evolving regional security situation to include maritime security,” the Department of National Defense said in a statement Monday.

It said the dialogue also “served as a platform for the Philippines and China to share perspectives on the regional security architecture to include regional multilateral institutions and relations between regional powers such as that between the US and China.”

The dialogue, held last April 27, is the fourth Defense Talks since 2005 and is hosted alternately, with China as country host for this year.

Among the activities of the Philippine delegation in China include a visit to National Defense University (NDU),where the Philippines has been sending officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. At present it has sent two AFP officers.

“Both the Philippines and China acknowledged that the dialogue is indicative of their respective thrusts to continue cultivating good relations notwithstanding divergence of position on certain issues. The talks are in accordance with the declaration of President Aquino and former Chinese President Hu Jintao to have 2012-2013 as the Years of Friendly Exchange for the Philippines and China,” the statement added.

The two countries also had the opportunity to review their bilateral defense relations and explore mechanisms “to further promote defense and military cooperation to include exchanges of personnel as well as collaboration in addressing the effects of natural disasters and climate change.”

The dialogue manifests the Philippine foreign policy that the West Philippine Sea, while a key issue between the Philippines and China, is not the totality of PH-China relations; hence engagement with China should be maintained, said the Philippine delegation led by Undersecretary of National Defense Honorio Azcueta.

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