ELECTED PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. spoke Thursday about maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific during a meeting with U.S. No. 2 diplomat, Washington said in a statement Thursday.
He and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is visiting the Philippines and several Asian countries this month, also talked about strengthening economic ties, human rights and regional security, it added.
The US State Department said Mr Marcos and Mrs Sherman “emphasized the importance of the US-Philippine Alliance for Security and Prosperity in the Indo-Pacific Region and the World, and the importance of promoting respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Philippines. . “
“We discussed strengthening our long-standing alliance, expanding human ties, deepening our economic relations, promoting human rights and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she tweeted separately.
The Philippines is the United States ‘oldest security ally in Southeast Asia and one of the United States’ five treaty allies in the Pacific region. They have a mutual defense treaty signed in 1951, after which both are forced to support each other in the event of an external attack.
Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte has mocked the United States for much of his six-year tenure, putting one of America’s oldest alliances in Asia behind. He led a focal point towards China, to which he sought closer trade and investment ties.
The hard-talking leader had threatened to cancel a two-decade military pact with the United States on sending troops to war games. The Visiting Forces Agreement makes it easier for U.S. troops and ships to operate in the Philippines, including conducting major combat exercises that have alarmed China.
Sir. Marcos and Ms. Sherman had “agreed on the importance of working together to strengthen our economies, including the importance of public-private partnerships, clean energy and our digital economy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in the statement.
“They discussed opportunities for our two nations to deepen our alliance and friendship and seize new opportunities to deliver for our people in the years to come,” he added.
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez; Theresa P. Lazaro also attended the meeting.
Ms. Sherman will also visit South Korea, Laos and Vietnam.
“The Secretary of State’s trip to the region reflects the continued commitment of the United States to the Indo-Pacific,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement earlier.
Sherman’s trip to Asia followed the special summit between the United States and the Southeast Asian nations in May, US President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s visit to South Korea and Japan, the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo and the launch of the Indo-Pacific economic framework.
Leaders of Japan, Australia, the United States and India – members of the so-called Quad Alliance – said last month that they opposed any attempt to “change the status quo by force, especially in the Indo-Pacific.”
The statement came amid international pressure on Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine and a growing concern about whether China could try to conquer autonomous Taiwan.
Mr. Marcos previously said that under his administration, the Philippines would join a US-backed economic framework for the Indo-Pacific that Washington created to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Experts have said it remains to be seen whether Mr Marcos will pursue closer ties with China as the US has raised efforts to take its alliance with the Philippines to the next level.
Mr. Biden spoke last month with Mr. Marcos on the phone to congratulate him on his landslide election. He also looked forward to “working with the president-elect to continue to strengthen the US-Philippine alliance,” the White House said earlier.
The US leader also wanted to expand bilateral cooperation on issues including the fight against coronavirus, tackling the climate crisis, promoting broad economic growth and respect for human rights, it added.
Also on Thursday, Clarita R. Carlos, who will be Mr. Marcos’ national security adviser that the incoming government would confront the Maoist uprising by resolving social injustice.
The government would not gain anything by branding some people as communists, she told GMA News.
“Maybe we should not use labels,” she said. “We gain nothing if we keep tagging people.
Ms. Carlos, a retired professor at the University of the Philippines, said the Marcos government would try to solve the decades-old uprising by providing more social opportunities. “National security is human security. It must also be about the threats to your life as an individual.” – Norman P. Aquino and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza