Manila, Philippines– Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. explored defense and security collaborations with the United Kingdom and Vietnam amid security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the South China Sea.

Teodoro met separately with the UK’s Trade Envoy to the Philippines, Richard Graham, and Vietnam’s Ambassador to the Philippines Lai Thai Binh in Camp Aguinaldo on Friday to discuss defense and security matters

Defense Spokesman Director Arsenio Andolong said Teodoro and Graham expressed interest in joint ventures with British investors and other forms of cooperation to support the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He said that Graham echoed the UK’s desire for closer defense ties with the Philippines.

“He reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to collaborating with allies and partners under the Protect, Align, and Engage framework outlined in the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh, the UK’s national security and international strategy document,” Andolong said.

Graham was accompanied by Ambassador Laure Beaufils, Country Director for Trade and Investment Dr. James Thackery, and British Defense Attaché to the Philippines Group Captain Bea Walcot.

On the other hand, Teodoro discussed with Vietnam leaders intelligence exchanges, cyber security, counter-terrorism and maritime security, among others.

Teodoro also expressed concern on the recent security developments in the region, and welcomed the support of Vietnam in upholding rules-based international order and adherence to the International Law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He invited Vietnam’s Minister of Defense to visit the Philippines and discuss other avenues for cooperation, such as disaster risk reduction and logistics cooperation.