Japan eyes amphibious landing exercises with PH military
MANILA, Philippines – Japanese military chief Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano said he wants to conduct more military exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly amphibious landing exercises that are regularly conducted between the Philippines and the US.
"Admiral Kawano expressed interest in conducting more exercises with the PH in the future, particularly amphibious landing exercises and amphibious operations," the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) said in a statement on Friday, August 14.
Katsutoshi is in Manila for the Pacific Partnerhip 2015, the largest multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
He paid a courtesy call on Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who welcomed Kawano's suggested but said a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) would be required to allow it.
Kawano also stressed the importance of capacity building cooperation and information sharing to address common security issues, added the DND statement.
Defense ties between the former World War II enemies have grown since tension in the region escalated due to disputes in maritime territories. The two countries are protesting the continued aggressiveness of China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea.
"[Kawano] mentioned that China is attempting to change the status quo in the region with its reclamation activities. In response, the [Gazmin] pointed out that stronger defense relations between the two countries will promote security and stability in the region," the DND statement added.
Manila recently announced that it is in the process of crafting a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Japan to allow Japanese troops and assets access to Philippine military bases.
Drills between the Philippine Navy and the Japan Maritime Defense Forces were conducted despite the absence of a VFA, prompting a case before the Supreme Court over the alleged unconstitutionality of the exercises.
The Philippines and Japan signed in January the Philippines-Japan Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges, which paved the way for increased exchanges between the militaries of the two countries. – Rappler.com