President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said security cooperation with Manila’s longstanding ally, the United States, would “just keep going” amid tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.
The President made the remark in a chance interview during his meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington.
When asked about his concerns over the provocative actions of China in the West Philippine Sea, President Marcos said he was “concerned as you could possibly be.” “It is one of the major issues that we have to face back home.”
“Well, cooperation with the United States certainly is just something that we are building upon that has been going on for many, many, many decades. And we just keep going,” the President added.
In the meeting, Harris stressed Manila and Washington must continue to work together to address the maritime issues in the West Philippine Sea through their respective Coast Guards.
In a joint statement on Monday, both President Marcos and US President Joseph Biden welcomed the identification of new sites under the US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The two leaders said this will strengthen Philippine security and support to the modernization goals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This would also drive US investment to local communities across the country and improving the shared ability to rapidly deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Both leaders underscored their “unwavering commitment” to freedom of navigation and overflight in the West Philippine Sea, as well as the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones, consistent with international law.
Catherine R. Cueto