PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. told United States Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken he wants the country’s bilateral ties with Washington to further “evolve”.
Blinken paid a courtesy call on President Marcos in Malacañang Palace.
“President @bongbongmarcos and @SecBlinken highlighted achievements of the thriving U.S.-Philippines relationship and discussed ways to address common challenges. I am thrilled to do my part to ensure our strong and productive ties,” US Ambassador to Manila MaryKay Carlson tweeted.
Meeting with Blinken in Malacañang on Saturday morning, Marcos stressed the importance of the support and assistance provided by the US government to the country over the years.
He noted such aid becomes even more crucial amid increasing “volatility in the international diplomatic scene” such as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the increased Chinese military activities in the surrounding waters around Taiwan following the recent visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing island.
“This just points to the fact of the importance of the relationship between the United States and the Philippines. I hope that we will continue to evolve that relationship in the face of all the changes we have been seeing and the changes that are between our bilateral relationship with the United States,” Marcos said.
For his part, Blinken thanked Marcos for the warm welcome he received after arriving in the country Friday.
He also affirmed the US government is committed to continue the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty.
During the administration of President Duterte, the government initiated the abrogation of the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US due to its concerns on the rising local drug-related fatalities.
Duterte, however, decided to reconsider the plan after receiving 3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the US.
Blinken said he is now looking forward to forging more partnerships with the country, particularly and economic pact and those which will address “existential threats” to both countries such as Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re also working together as partners in so many different areas particularly economically, and of course, the alliance is strong and I believe we will all become stronger,” Blinken said.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to deepen everything that we’ve been doing and we’re grateful to be working with you in your administration,” he added.
Blinken arrived in Manila Friday night from Cambodia after attending a series of meetings with foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and other regional partners.
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