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12月19日のまにら新聞から

Philippines expects RAA with Japan to be signed in 2024: official

[ 458 words|2023.12.19|英字 (English) ]

The Philippines expects to have the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) with Japan to be signed by ''next year'', an official of the National Security Council (NSC) said Monday.

In a “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” briefing, NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said: “I think the target is to have that signed next year or the earlier, the better.

''So if we have an RAA with Japan this really signals the increase in the partnership between the Philippines and Japan, because it will become a strategic partnership,” he added.

Malaya said the RAA “ will have great benefits.'' ''It would benefit our security, number one and secondly, our disaster response,” he added.

The RAA between the two countries would be a “strategic partnership” would be similar to the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, added Malaya.

Malaya said President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida want to fast-track the negotiations on the agreement, since it began on November 29 together with a team from the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

Marcos said he and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed to immediately finalize the discussion on the planned Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA).

In a media interview prior to returning to the Philippines, the President was asked about specific timeline on the finalization of the RAA.

“I think both Prime Minister and I agree, asap lahat ito is ? as soon as possible, yesterday, if not sooner,” he said as a response.

The RAA has been in the works for some time but both countries sharpened their focus as a result of the recent incidents in the West Philippine Sea, he said, noting that he is looking forward to having such arrangement not only with Japan, but also with other countries to give the Philippine big multiplier effect in terms of capability.

Such discussions, he said, become a very important part of these trips, saying that he approached other leaders during formal discussions to talk about security issues in the West Philippine Sea.

“This is one of the products of that. We also have the same kind of negotiations or discussions with many other countries. We’ll continue to do that para maraming tumutulong sa atin, sa problemang hinaharap natin sa South China Sea,” he noted.

The RAA is expected to greatly boost maritime cooperation between the two countries as the proposed RAA will facilitate the procedures and set guidelines when Philippine forces visit Japan for training and joint exercises, and vice versa.

Asked to comment on the reported presence of an extraordinary number of Chinese vessels in Ayungin shoal, the President said that his government is very circumspect in its actions to avoid unintended results. Jaspearl Tan/ Presidential News Desk