President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said there are no formal talks yet between Manila and Tokyo on a possible Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Japan.
The President made this remark in an interview with the press on board PR001 when asked for comment about proposals to boost defense cooperation with the country’s long-time ally.
While there are no formal dialogues yet between the Philippines and Japan on the matter, the President noted Japan’s assistance in helping the Philippine Coast Guard in terms of capacity-building that includes providing equipment.
“Yung support nila sa Coast Guard, matagal na yan… that kind of cooperation has been ongoing. Siguro sa kanilang palagay, the next step is to the improvement, rehabilitation sa Subic, para nga sa Coast Guard,” the President told reporters.
“Naturally, the reason behind all this is they would like to have more patrols along… South China Sea para naman we can assure the freedom of passage,” Marcos pointed out.
Fostering cooperation is one of the agenda of the President’s working visit to Tokyo, pointing to the need for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to continuously modernize.
“So this is a new element to our relationship because we’re now talking about security of the region. So being, of course, all interested in the same thing, i.e., security in the region, I think cooperation is not a bad thing,” the President said.
President Marcos is in Japan for a working visit, where he is set to forge closer political ties, stronger defense and security cooperation, as well as lasting economic partnerships with the Philippines’ Asian neighbor. #