Other Government Release

Department of National Defense

Defense Secretary Teodoro meets with Lithuania, Canada, and New Zealand Defense Ministers

June 1, 2024 (Singapore) – Philippine National Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. on Saturday held a series of bilateral talks with his counterparts from Lithuania, Canada, and New Zealand aimed at deepening and broadening defense and security cooperation.

On the sidelines of the 21st International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), which opened on Friday, Laurynas Kasčiūnas, Minister of National Defence of Lithuania, offered Secretary Teodoro defense and military training on cybersecurity, among others.

The Philippine defense chief instructed senior defense officials present during the meeting to immediately explore areas of cooperation for a possible memorandum of understanding to develop Philippines-Lithuania defense cooperation.

Secretary Teodoro, through Defense Minister Kasčiūnas, invited the Lithuanian people to visit the Philippines and for Lithuanian seafaring companies to tap Filipino seafarers, known to be among the most skilled in the world.

In their meeting, Bill Blair, Minister of Defense of Canada, and Secretary Teodoro reaffirmed the “long, enduring friendly relations” between their two countries.

Minister Blair strongly lauded the Philippines for forging defense and security alliances with countries such as the US, Japan, and South Korea.

“Canada has a major role to play in the Indo-Pacific region,” the Philippine defense chief said in return.

During her meeting with Secretary Teodoro, Judith Anne Collins, Minister of Defense of New Zealand, opened the bilateral meeting by saying that her country is “deeply concerned with what is happening in the West Philippine Sea.”

“New Zealand has to engage the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

“The Philippines is not the one causing the problem over there,” the Philippine defense chief told Minister Collins.

Secretary Teodoro and Minister Collins discussed stronger defense cooperation, notably in the areas of engineering and logistics.

Last Friday evening, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. delivered an unprecedented keynote address to the 2024 Shangri-La Dialogue participants where he discussed the Philippines’ legal and geopolitical position on the West Philippine Sea, a vital lane for international trade and economy.