WASHINGTON D.C.– Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met here to affirm the long-standing alliance and partnership between the Philippines and the United States, as the two countries celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations and 70 years of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) this year.
Locsin was joined by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez and top Philippine foreign affairs officials in his first in-person meeting with Blinken since the Biden administration assumed office in January. The two had earlier conversed on the phone, shortly after Biden assumed the presidency, with Blinken affirming to its military ally the US’s commitment to upholding the MDT.
“We want to ramp up our bilateral engagement to ensure that our alliance remains strong and resilient,” Locsin said at their meeting in Washington.
Locsin also underscored the importance of the MDT, stressing the need for the Philippines to enhance its defense capacity to keep its treaty commitments.
The two officials also agreed to hold the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) in November and the 2 Plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue in early 2022.
The BSD is a key mechanism for consultation and exchange of views on a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues, and discussion on political, security, and economic cooperation between the Philippines and the United States. The 2 Plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue involves a joint meeting between the Foreign and Defense Ministers of the two countries.
They also discussed ways forward in strengthening the defense capabilities of the Philippines.
Locsin conveyed President Duterte’s deep appreciation for the more than six million vaccines donated by the US to the Filipino people.
Image credits: DFA