First Japan-Philippines Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”)
On April 9, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr. KISHI Nobuo, Minister of Defense of Japan, held the first Japan-Philippines Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) with Hon. Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, and Hon. Defin. N. Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines, for about 90 minutes from 10:00 a.m. in an in-person format in Tokyo. The Joint Statement was released after the meeting. The overview of the talk is as follows:
The four ministers welcomed convening the first-ever “2+2” between Japan and the Philippines. The four ministers also affirmed the commitment to further strengthening the coordination in response to regional and international issues as well as cooperation toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” as Strategic Partners sharing fundamental values and strategic interests as neighbouring maritime nations.
2. Regional and International Situation
- (1) On the situation in Ukraine, the Japanese side pointed out that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine constitutes an outright violation of international law and jeopardizes the foundation of international order. In addition, the four ministers confirmed that the two countries will respond in a coordinated manner in acknowledging that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine constitutes an outright violation of international law and jeopardizes the foundation of international order, urging immediate stop of use of force and immediate withdrawal of forces from Ukraine, respecting the rule of law, Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing to any unilateral change to the status quo by force.
- (2) On the situation in the East and South China Seas, the four ministers shared serious concern and concurred on ensuring the observation of the July 2016 arbitral award on the South China Sea and international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- (3) The four ministers also exchanged views on North Korea’s nuclear and missiles activities, including its latest launch of an ICBM-class ballistic missile on March 24, and affirmed that Japan and the Philippines would continue to coordinate in dealing with North Korea including on immediate resolution of the abductions issue.
- (4) The four ministers concurred on continuing the coordination toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.”
3. Bilateral Cooperation including Security Cooperation
- (1) The four ministers concurred on starting to consider frameworks to facilitate reciprocal visits as well as reciprocal provision of supplies and services in order to further enhance and facilitate cooperation such as exercises between Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Going forward, the Japanese side will proceed with deliberations, including on the possibilities of concluding a reciprocal access agreement and an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement.
- (2) The four ministers concurred on enhancing cooperation in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and their surrounding areas in fields of maritime safety, connectivity enhancement, human resources development, anti-piracy, counterterrorism and prevention of violent extremism, among others, and reaffirmed the importance of support to the Mindanao peace process.
- (3) Furthermore, the four ministers discussed economic coercion that aims to achieve political ends and cybersecurity, and concurred on strengthening bilateral cooperation on the promotion of economic security.
4. Cooperation in the International Arena
- (1) The four ministers concurred on coordinating for the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the maintenance and strengthening of disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The Philippine side reiterated its support for Japan’s bid for permanent membership in a future UNSC.
- (2) The four ministers affirmed that the two countries work together toward the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in 2023.