France and the Philippines are studying a defense pact that would allow them to send military forces to each other’s territory for joint exercises, the Philippine defense chief said Saturday after talks with his French counterpart.
Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said at a press conference together with the French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu that they are waiting for authorization from their heads of state to begin negotiations.
“We intend to take concrete steps to level up and make our defense cooperation more comprehensive, primarily by working to obtain authorization from our respective heads of state and relevant agencies to begin negotiations for an agreed status of visiting forces.” said Theodore.
“The first objective is to create interoperability or strategic closeness between both armed forces, to see how both navies work together, how the air forces work together,” Lecornu said.
The Philippines has similar agreements, which provide a legal framework for foreign troop visits, only with the United States, its long-time treaty ally, and with Australia. Negotiations are also underway between the Philippines and Japan for a reciprocal access agreement that would allow the deployment of Japanese and Filipino troops between both countries for military exercises and security activities.
The Philippine and French defense chiefs agreed to deepen defense cooperation, including intensifying intelligence and information sharing to address security threats, Teodoro noted.
They agreed to carry out visits by Filipino and French ships, and stressed the importance of respecting international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, he added.