BERLIN: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (pix) discussed stepped-up military ties between Berlin and Manila on Tuesday during a visit to the German capital by Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior, reported German news agency (dpa).

After his talks with the German chancellor, Marcos 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.

Scholz is receiving a number of Asian guests this week.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was a guest on Monday, followed by Marcos Jr on Tuesday. He 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. -Bernama