DFA chief in Tokyo to promote rules-based order, follow up on PH-Japan agreements

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 15) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo is in Tokyo, Japan to participate in the Munich Leaders Meeting (MLM) and engage in a number of policy discussions until May 16.

In a statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Manalo will “join policymakers and experts in sharing insights on a range of issues, including the Indo-Pacific security architecture, nuclear security, and new partnership opportunities arising from the shifting geopolitical landscape in the region and beyond.”

Manalo is also set to meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa to discuss developments on the agreements reached by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio last February.

The DFA chief will also hold discussions with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives to discuss the bilateral ties of the two countries and possible cooperation in addressing climate change.

Manalo will also deliver a policy address at the Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) to promote rules-based order.

The foreign affairs chief noted that the Philippines and Japan have a “remarkable journey of friendship, cooperation, and mutual respect.”

“From the ashes of war, we have forged a comprehensive and largely outcomes-based Strategic Partnership that is anchored on shared values,” Manalo said in a statement.

“As the world undergoes profound transformations, driven by new technologies, power dynamics, and societal changes, the Philippines and Japan must continue to work together to ensure that the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the rules-based order that has been the bedrock of international peace and stability these past decades, are upheld and strengthened,” he added.

The Philippines, Japan and the United States are eyeing potential trilateral cooperation in order to address maritime issues in the region.

The Japanese Embassy in Manila says no official discussions on possible joint patrols in the South China Sea have been made so far with the Philippines and the United States.

Japan made the clarification when asked by CNN Philippines on its possible participation in the Philippine-US joint patrols which, according to Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, could possibly start in the third quarter of 2023.

“There is no specific plan or discussion of 'joint patrols,' but Japan and the Philippines have been closely working together to reinforce Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and maritime law enforcement for the stability of the South China Sea,” the Embassy said in a statement.

Japan however said that it is willing to take part in trilateral dialogues with the Philippines and the US especially on defense policies.

“Japan is committed to further enhancement of defense exchanges through trilateral dialogues like the Japan-Philippines-U.S. Trilateral Defense Policy Dialogue, and participation of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in Philippines-U.S. joint exercises,” the Embassy said.