MANILA, Oct 11 (Mabuhay) — The United Kingdom (UK) has expressed its intention to deploy two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) in southeast Asia.

Right Honorable Amanda Milling, the new Minister for Asia of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) conveyed this during her first visit to Manila and meeting with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last October 8.

“On regional security, Minister Milling conveyed the UK’s intent to maintain two OPVs permanently in Southeast Asia, as a demonstration of its long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific region,” Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Monday.

Accompanying Milling in her visit were British Ambassador to Manila Laure Beaufils, Private Secretary Maude Pemberton, Indo-Pacific Director Joelle Jenny, and Political Counsellor Rebecca Shah.

Also discussed was the Australia-UK-United States (AUKUS) trilateral security partnership, the intent of which Milling emphasized, is to support Australia’s capability development to contribute to security in the region.

“It was noted that the UK has been granted the status of ASEAN Dialogue Partner since August 2021. As the UK has applied for observer status in ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus Experts’ Working Groups (EWGs), the UK side looked forward to sharing its experience and expertise in military medicine and peacekeeping operations,” Andolong said.

Also discussed were developments in bilateral defense cooperation between the Philippines and the UK, which was implemented under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2017.

“In this regard, the Ministers recalled the outcomes of the 2nd Philippines-UK Joint Defense Cooperation (JDC) Meeting, which was successfully conducted last 24 June 2021 via virtual means,” Andolong said.

The British side also provided updates on the contract implementation of defense acquisition projects between the Philippines and the UK.

“Both sides reaffirmed their intent to exchange resident Defense Attachés, as the two countries continue to increase cooperative engagements,” Andolong added. (MNS)

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