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Defense pact ng Pinas at Japan pinuri ng National Security Council

MANILA, Philippines – PINURI ni National Security Council (NSC) chief Eduardo Año ang mabilis na paglagda sa palatandaan ng visiting forces agreement (VFA) sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at Japan.

Sinabi ni Año na ang pagkakatinta sa Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), araw ng Lunes, Hulyo 8 ay nauna pa sa initial projected time line ng NSA, na bago pa magtapos ang 2024.

“We commend the dedication and handwork of both Filipino and Japanese diplomats and officials in bringing this agreement to fruition in record time,” ayon kay Año.

Tinuran pa ni Año na ang RAA, nakamit “in less than a year of dedicated negotiations,” meant the ties of Manila and Tokyo are now at its “golden age.”

Subalit nananatiling kailangan pa rin ng Senado ng Pilipinas at counterpart nito sa Japan na ratipikahin ang RAA.

Ang RAA ay nilagdaan ni Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. at Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko sa harap ni Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sa Palasyo ng Malakanyang.

Matapos ang RAA signing ceremony, isang “2+2” ministerial meeting ang idinaos sa Taguig City sa pagitan nina Teodoro, Japanese defense minister Kihara Minoru, at Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo at Kamikawa.

Winika ni Teodoro sa kanyang opening remarks na “This (is) another milestone in our shared endeavor to ensure a rules-based international order to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and particularly in our region.”

Sinabi naman ni Kihara na ang Maynila ay nasa situwasyon ng isang “very strategically important region placed in a key junction of Tokyo’s sea lanes.”

“Advancing defense cooperation and exchanges with the Philippines is important for Japan,” ang sinabi pa ni Kihara sa kanyang opening remarks. Kris Jose