Monday, December 10, 2012

PH, Malaysia armed forces boost cooperation amid China's bullying

Malaysia and the Philippines, two of the four ASEAN members that have claims in the South China Sea, have bolstered their defense cooperation amid what is seen as a more aggressive projection by China in the oil-rich Spratly Islands.

 “The Armed Forces of the Philippines is committed towards promoting and enhancing regional peace and security which is why we are undertaking these high-level visits aimed at further strengthening our bilateral relationship with other countries’ military,” Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa said.

 He made the remarks as Malaysia’s armed forces chief visited Manila and toured some defense establishments in the country, holding closed-door meetings as well with Dellosa and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

“We are confident that with a stronger bilateral relationship with our Malaysian counterpart and other neighboring countries, more opportunities for security cooperation and peace and development programs will emerge to benefit the people in the region,” he added.

Military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. was mum about the agenda in the meeting between Gen. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Zulkifeli Bin Mohd Zin, Chief of Defense Forces of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), and Dellosa and Gazmin.

Zulkifeli had also visited military commands in the country, notably the 6th Infantry Division based in Mindanao and the Philippine Military Academy in Fort del Pilar in Baguio City.

The meetings tackled defense and security issues and cooperation, Burgos said, since both countries had signed in 1994 a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation, promoting strong bilateral military and defense cooperation.

Visiting Camp Aguinaldo last Wednesday, Zulkifeli met with the military top brass followed by a meeting with Gazmin.

Philippines and Malaysia are claiming some areas in the disputed Spratlys, but China claims entire ownership, pitting it against these and two other ASEAN members—Vietnam and Brunei----as well as Taiwan. 

Malaysia earlier also brokered the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The outcome of this was the signing of a Framework Agreement (FRAG) last October, meant to end the over 4-decade-old armed rebellion in Mindanao.-Interaksyon (December 09, 2012 6:33PM)

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