May 20, 2024

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is receiving several South-East Asian leaders this week, discussed ties with Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior in Berlin on Tuesday, the day after talks with Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim.

Scholz discussed stepped-up military ties between Berlin and Manila during Marcos Jr’s visit.

After his talks with the German chancellor, Marcos Jr named the training of Philippine armed forces, defence against cyberattacks and coastal protection as areas in which even closer cooperation is possible.

He recalled that Germany has been involved in training Filipino soldiers since 1974, longer than almost any other country in the world.

When asked, Marcos Jr did not comment specifically on possible joint arms projects.

The Philippines and other South-East Asian states have been arguing with China over maritime areas and islands in the South China Sea for many years. This is primarily why the archipelago state is trying to strengthen its military capabilities in the maritime sector.

The two countries also want to work more closely together on the development of raw materials as well as on climate action and on labour migration.

Thousands of skilled workers from the Philippines work in Germany, especially in the nursing sector.

Scholz said that a “very comprehensive further development” of cooperation in the skilled sector was planned. “We also plan to put this into concrete texts that we can agree on,” he said.

After the meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar on Monday, Scholz said: “The Indo-Pacific region is of great importance for Germany and the European Union. We therefore want to intensively deepen political and economic cooperation.”

Their talks also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the current armed confrontation between Israel and the militant Palestinian Hamas organization in the Gaza Strip.

Malaysia has ties to Hamas, and Anwar was critical of Israel in his remarks on Monday.

Anwar emphasized that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians did not just begin when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

He stressed that Malaysia has ties with the political wing of Hamas, adding: “We do not have any connection with any military outfit.”

Scholz emphasized that Israel has every right to defend itself against Hamas’ terror.

But the German chancellor also again called for a longer-lasting ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which should help free the Israeli hostages held by Hamas and enable humanitarian aid.

Following on from his meetings with Marcos and Anwar, Scholz is due to see Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday.

Scholz’s centre-left government has decided to reduce its economic dependence on China and to expand partnerships with other Asian countries.

President of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr., speaks during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpaPresident of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr., speaks during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

President of the Philippines Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr., speaks during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and President of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr. shake hands during a joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpaGerman Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and President of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr. shake hands during a joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and President of the Philippines Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. shake hands during a joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and President of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr. hold a joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpaGerman Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and President of the Philippines Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr. hold a joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and President of the Philippines Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. hold a joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

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