Philippines, New Zealand Bolster Defense Ties with New Logistics Agreement

Nations signed Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA) in Manila on June 10, 2024
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  • 11:05 AM, June 10, 2024
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Philippines, New Zealand Bolster Defense Ties with New Logistics Agreement

The Philippines and New Zealand have agreed to strengthen their security and defense cooperation through the signing of a Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA), Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo announced on Monday.

This agreement follows a bilateral meeting between Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in April. During that meeting, both leaders committed to “maintaining and strengthening defense engagements while exploring new frameworks of cooperation to deepen defense ties.”

In addition to the MLSA, discussions are expected to begin soon on a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA), another key military partnership that President Marcos and Prime Minister Luxon had considered. The Philippines currently has SOVFAs with the United States and Australia and is developing a similar agreement with Japan, known as the Reciprocal Access Agreement.

These military partnerships facilitate joint training exercises and the sharing of military equipment and assets between the countries involved.

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Raymond Peters is in Manila this week for an official visit aimed at enhancing bilateral relations and exploring new avenues for cooperation in trade, investment, renewable energy, and combating climate change.

Manalo expressed gratitude to New Zealand for its "steadfast support" amid the challenges the Philippines faces in the South China Sea. "We reaffirmed our continued commitment to uphold the rule of law as a pillar to achieving peace and security in the region," he said.

Manalo also reiterated the Philippines’ support for New Zealand’s proposal to elevate ASEAN-New Zealand relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership next year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations and the ASEAN-New Zealand Summit.

Recognizing the shared maritime interests of both nations, Manalo underscored New Zealand’s "special role" among the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) member countries. He noted that the Philippines, as a PIF Dialogue Partner, can contribute to addressing current and emerging challenges in the Pacific region.