January 26, 2024 (Quezon City) – Undersecretary of National Defense (USND) Irineo C. Espino met with H.E. Jan Knutsson, Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, during the latter's courtesy call at the Department of National Defense (DND) to discuss common security challenges affecting both the Philippines and Sweden.
Among the issues they discussed included climate change, the ongoing war in Ukraine, cross-strait tensions, and the South China Sea issue. Both sides looked forward to developing a long-term bilateral cooperation, underscoring the importance of upholding the rules-based international order and strengthening security ties between like-minded countries.
The meeting served as a follow-on to Senior Undersecretary Espino's courtesy call on State Secretary Knutsson during the Philippine official's visit to Stockholm in October 2023.
Showcasing Sweden's strong defense industry to counter threats, State Secretary Knutsson emphasized the country's cost-effective materiel, primarily its aircraft. Relatedly, Senior Undersecretary Espino conveyed DND's openness to explore cooperation in technology transfer and research and development, among others, in line with the Philippines' efforts to achieve a self-reliant defense posture and more effectively protect its sovereignty.
Both sides also emphasized the urgency of addressing security threats in the continuously evolving cyber domain. Underlining cyber security as one of the President's priority agenda, Senior Undersecretary Espino shared the DND and its bureaus' efforts to build a stronger cyber security framework and identify potential partners in this regard.
In relation to defense capability development, the Philippine and Swedish sides also discussed the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation in the Acquisition of Defense Materiel, updates on the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program and funding requirements, and the Philippine procurement law.