The Philippines may expect joint military training and enhanced defense cooperation with Malaysia as President Rodrigo Duterte and newly-elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad had discussed security and defense issues, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the two leaders also considered the threats of the Islamic State to Southeast Asia, particularly to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
“The threat of ISIS is not only against the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia but to entire Southeast Asia,” Roque said in a radio interview.
Roque said Duterte and Mahathir reaffirmed the friendship between the Philippines and Malaysia after they met in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
He said the event was a testament to the growing collaboration between the two sides in maritime security.
Roque also confirmed that there would also be a joint military training between the two countries.
“I still think it’s going to be about military cooperation, joint training and turnover of military weapons because of the threat of terrorism in the region,” Roque said.
While there is an occurring joint patrol in the Mindanao seas, Roque said, those patrols could be strengthened by a joint military training.
In a statement sent to reporters after the meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, the Palace expressed gratefulness to the Malaysian government as the two leaders collectively discussed matters of mutual interest.
“President Duterte and Prime Minister Mohamad renewed and reaffirmed the long-standing brotherhood and friendship between the Philippines and Malaysia,” Roque said.
He said Duterte also stressed the need to fight terrorism and violent extremism in the region as well as transnational crimes such as piracy and armed robbery at sea.
“Both leaders stressed the importance of working closely bilaterally and at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to achieve shared aspirations of greater peace, progress, and prosperity for the Philippines and Malaysia and greater stability and security in the region,” Roque said. With Vito Barcelo
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