Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of the Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, was given arrival honors at 3 p.m. local time on Wednesday August 12 in his arrival at Armed Forces of the Philippines general headquarters.
The Japanese Admiral visits the Philippines a day after China published a newspaper article that criticizes the Philippines for its stand on the South China sea reclamation. The Chinese newspaper is also criticizing Japan for it’s support to the Philippines.
The top Japanese military commander went for a courtesy call on General Hernando DCA Iriberri, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The admiral will stay in the Philippines until August 14 in order to observe the activities under the Pacific Partnership 2015 (PP15) in Subic Bay, according to reports.
The PP15 is the largest multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, started in May and will end in September this year.
The missions have provided the Philippines with medical care, veterinary services and critical infrastructure developments.
The American hospital ship USNS Mercy
Is docked in Subic Bay for this purpose. Other activities of the PP15 are done in La Union with the vessel USS Millinocket, according to reports.
“Among the highlights of Pacific Patnership is the medical mission being conducted by personnel from various countries onboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) which arrived in the Philippines last July 18,” Philippine Military said in a statement.
The PP15 aims to strengthen international relationships among Asia-Pacific countries.
Drills between the Philippine Navy and the Japan Maritime Defense Forces were conducted, reports said.
It remains unclear if the two military officials talked about the South China Sea dispute or the plan to transfer Japanese military equipment to the Philippines, reports said.
“We discussed matters on how to further strengthen our military-to-military relationsghip based on the Memorandum of Agreement on defense cooperation and exchanges signed by our country’s defense establishment,” Gen. Iriberri said in a text message to media. IMAGE/mod.go.jp