New Zealand Embassy Manila, The Philippines

New Zealand defence delegation visits Manila

The New Zealand defence delegation headed by Secretary of Defence John McKinnon

A delegation of high-level New Zealand defence officials visited Manila in the first week of August for discussions with their Filipino counterparts, including a strategic dialogue and the first co-chairs meeting for the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus expert working group on peacekeeping operations.

The New Zealand delegation was led by Secretary of the Ministry of Defence John McKinnon.  He was joined by the head of New Zealand’s international defence relations body Paul Sinclair, the New Zealand Defence Force’s assistant chief of strategic commitment and intelligence Air Commodore Peter Port, and New Zealand Defence Attaché to the Philippines (resident in Jakarta) Colonel Tony Hill.

The strategic dialogue meeting was held at Camp Aguinaldo on 4 August, and covered a broad range of security issues.  Information was shared on topics such as the current situation in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, New Zealand’s defence commitments in the Pacific, Timor Leste and Afghanistan, and the roles both countries play in peacekeeping operations around the globe.  The dialogue also included an overview of the Mutual Assistance Programme, under which around 10 Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel per year have trained in New Zealand. 

New Zealand and the Philippines are the co-chairs of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) expert working group on peacekeeping operations, which is intended to increase practical cooperation and capacity building opportunities among the member countries.  An officials-level discussion on the objectives for the group and on activities that are planned over the next year was held on 5 August, also at Camp Aguinaldo. 

New Zealand Ambassador Andrew Matheson said the visit had been a very successful one.  “New Zealand has been committed for decades to enhancing peace and security in Southeast Asia, and maintaining defence links with the Philippines is an important part of that.”

“It’s also pleasing that the working group in Manila has developed some practical steps to help the member countries of the ADMM+ better respond to conflict situations that threaten peace or security in the Asia-Pacific region”, he said.

The delegation also called on National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, the Secretary of Defence (represented by Senior Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta), and  Chief of Staff General Eduardo Oban Jr. 

 

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