Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has expressed optimism that the country’s armed forces will have more beneficial agreements with China as they share common aspirations on peace and security.
Speaking at the 92nd founding anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) on Monday night, Lorenzana extended the Philippines’ “warmest greetings” to the celebration of the CPLA, lauding Beijing’s defense force for promoting “solidarity and amity” with the rest of the world.
“Our country’s defense force joins you not only in your celebration, but also in manifesting the values of solidarity and amity with the rest of the world, affirming our strong equipment to peace, security, and stability in the world,” he said in his speech.
According to the DND chief, the CPLA’s celebration this year marks their victory over the challenges and threats they have successfully dealt with to protect China, its people, and its national interests.
“We can very well relate to your experience as our counterpart, our Armed Forces of the Philippines, relentlessly and devotedly deal with almost the same concerns to protect our country’s peace and security and advance our national interests,” he said.
“This is evident in our Annual Defense and Security Talks or ADST with China, where we tackle areas of mutual concern including terrorism, violent extremism, transnational crime, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” Lorenzana added.
The top Defense official also underscored President Rodrigo Duterte’s stance that the country will maintain a middle ground position while dealing with the issues concerning the West Philippine Sea.
“As very well-articulated by President Duterte and as guaranteed by our Constitution, the Philippines is faithful in pursuing an independent foreign policy. Thus, our international events and engagements with different countries bolster our standing as a ‘friend to all and enemy no one’,” he said.
“And we are also committed to the resolution of disputes through peaceful means,” he added. The Defense chief then hoped that the line of communication between the armed forces of
Manila and Beijing remains open and transparent.
“As you near your centennial celebration, we anticipate more shared labors, mentally productive and beneficial cooperation and partnership agreements with you to create more understanding and friendship between our two nations,” Lorenzana ended.
In the same event, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said in his speech that aside from safeguarding Beijing’s national security, China’s army has been “relentless” in making efforts to protect peace and stability in the region.
“China has established a peacekeeping standby force of a thousand troops that is ready to be deployed,” he continued, adding that China remains a “peace-loving” nation.
The 92nd anniversary of the said military organization, which was held at Makati Shangri-La, was attended by Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, members of the AFP, DND, and the Philippine National Police, and distinguished members of the Chinese-Filipino community. (PCO)