By Priam Nepomuceno

PROMOTING REGIONAL STABILITY. Acting AFP deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Steve Crespillo (right) and ADF deputy chief of joint operations Rear Admiral Justin Garred Jones pose for a photo during the latter’s courtesy visit on Friday (April 26, 2024) at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Crespillo thanked Australia for promoting regional stability and security. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is eyeing to further increase its interoperability with Australia’s military following the visit of a ranking official of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on Friday.

In a statement, Col. Xerxes Trinidad said ADF deputy chief of joint operations Rear Admiral Justin Garred Jones made a courtesy visit to acting AFP deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Steve Crespillo at the AFP headquarters in Quezon City.

In their meeting, Crespillo thanked Australia for promoting regional stability and security.

“We thank you for supporting us in promoting our maritime domain awareness and enhancing our presence in the South China Sea, considering it to be one of our national challenges. We seek to continuously strengthen our engagements and solidify our relations to provide a better Indo-Pacific Region,” he said.

The Philippines and Australia share a longstanding defense relationship.

In November last year, the two countries held the first bilateral maritime cooperative activity to enhance maritime domain awareness and regional security in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

In August, the AFP and the ADF held their first amphibious exercise in the city of Darwin under the Indo-Pacific Endeavor activities.

Lithuanian FM visits DND

Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense welcomed Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis who visited the DND on April 25.

Defense Undersecretary Angelito de Leon welcomed Landsbergis, who was the first Lithuanian foreign minister to visit the DND, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said.

“Highlighting the shared values and adherence to a rules-based international order of the two countries, Minister Landsbergis expressed Lithuania’s shift in increasing its presence in the region, with the Philippines, as one of Lithuania’s focal points of engagement,” Andolong said. (PNA)