Philippines, Thailand leaders strengthen defense cooperation: Discuss West PHL Sea

The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand General Prayut Chan-o-cha made an official visit to the Republic of The Philippines on August 27-28, 2015. The visit is the leader’s first visit to Philippines since he assumed office in August 2014. “Prime Minister Prayut expressed appreciation to President Aquino and the Government of the Republic of The Philippines for the warm welcome and highly accorded hospitality extended to him and his delegation during this visit,” says in the joint press release after a meeting with President Aquino.

“The two Leaders updated each other on the political developments and national reforms in Thailand and The Philippines. Prime Minister Prayut congratulated President Aquino on the successful implementation of the vision “Straight Path” and the continued high economic growth rate for the past five years,” says in the joint statement.

Aquino and his counterpart are looking forward to the inaugural meetings of the Joint Committee on Military Cooperation (JCMC) and the Joint Trade Commission (JTC) in Manila later this year. Thailand also expressed readiness to host the First Meeting on Technical Cooperation between Thailand and The Philippines on 24-25 September 2015.

“The two Leaders expressed satisfaction on the signing of the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Philippine Army (PA) and Royal Thai Army (RTA) Working Group in April 2015. The TOR aims to develop guidelines and rules of procedure on army-related activities between the two armies,” the statement said.

Aquino said in his speech said that “the Prime Minister was instrumental in strengthening the partnership between our Armed Forces during his time as Chief of the Royal Thai Army, so too does he continue to work with us in order to forge the kind of defense relations that enables us to serve our peoples in a more holistic manner.”

During the engagement, Thailand committed to cooperate with Philippines and fellow ASEAN countries in fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea and the expeditious conclusion of Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

“They also exchanged views on the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. President Aquino apprised Prime Minister Prayut on the latest developments on The Philippines’ arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague,” states in the joint statement.