Philippines, New Zealand to begin talks on enhancing defense pacts

Philippines, New Zealand to begin talks on enhancing defense pacts

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and New Zealand are set to commence a “very serious discussion” on enhancing their defense agreements, particularly the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) in the coming weeks, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Manalo said the matter is now under active consideration.

“I think that is an issue which is now under active consideration by the Philippines and New Zealand and we expect to commence very serious discussions on this matter in the coming weeks and [I] expect we should be making progress too in the near future,” Manalo told reporters when he was asked whether or not negotiations on SOVFA have formally started.

READ: PH, New Zealand to sign enhanced defense agreements by end of 2024

In April 2024, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon agreed on enhancing their nations’ defense cooperation.

Among those that were agreed upon include the signing of SOVFA as well as the Mutual Logistics Supporting Arrangement.

READ: New Zealand’s Deputy PM to visit PH this week to boost diplomatic ties

Months after the two leaders’ meeting, Manalo hosted New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters in Manila.

During their meeting, Peters and Manalo discussed the “enduring friendship” between New Zealand and the Philippines. They also exchanged views on the matters involving the Indo-Pacific, including the South China Sea.

They agreed on the vital role that international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, plays in ensuring peace in the region.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/other/philippines-new-zealand-to-begin-talks-on-enhancing-defense-pacts/ar-BB1nVZN9?ocid=00000000

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