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Friday, August 30, 2013

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines and the United States (US) continue to seek 

ways to develop each other’s capabilities to address the security challenges of mutual concern and 

contribute to regional peace and stability. 

"Our alliance remains relevant today as it was before," Gazmin said in his remarks during the press conference on the visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Manila held at the Heroes' Hall of Malacanang Palace on Friday.

Hagel is in Manila as part of his four-nation trip to South-East Asia. 

"As fellow members of the ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting (ADMM)-plus, which was convened for the second time yesterday (Thursday) in Brunei Darussalam, the defense establishments of our two countries deemed it important to enhance our relations not only as allies but also as fellow stakeholders of regional security," Gazmin said.

Hagel's visit to Manila coincides with the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty.
"The visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the Philippines coincides with an important date for Philippines-U.S. defense relations for it was on August 30, 1951 that the Mutual Defense Treaty was signed," Gazmin said.

"The defense relations between our two countries have evolved since then. From military-to-military relations between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Pacific Command, we have begun conducting policy consultations between our defense establishments," Gazmin added. 

In addition to the bilateral strategic dialogue between senior officials from the Defense and Foreign Affairs Departments of the Philippines and the US, which was first held in 2011, Gazmin said the two countries held the two-plus-two ministerial consultations between the secretaries of the Philippine and U.S. Defense and Foreign Affairs Departments in April 2012.

Gazmin said the Philippines and US Defense departments are focusing on key areas of cooperation, including maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response, and cyber security and information sharing. (PND)

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