President Marcos and Vice President Kamala Harris of the United States met for the fifth time on Wednesday, Nov. 15 (US time), to reaffirm the alliance between the two countries and discuss concerns on clean energy, technology, and the West Philippine Sea issue.
President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. meets with US Vice President Kamala Harris at the Number One Observatory Circle, US Naval Observatory, in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2023 (Photo courtesy of KJ Rosales/PPA Pool)
A statement posted on the White House’s website said that the meeting happened on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco, California.
“They reaffirmed the strength of the alliance between the United States and the Philippines and discussed ongoing efforts to deepen our security ties and expand commercial and economic cooperation,” it stated.
This was the fifth meeting between Marcos and Harris; the first one was in Manila when Harris visited in November 2022. They also met in May 2023 at the Naval Observatory, in September 2023 on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Jakarta, and again on the same month this year for a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Kishida in Jakarta.
During the meeting, the two leaders “reiterated their shared commitment to upholding international rules and norms, including in the South China Sea.”
They believe that the current US-Philippines ties are in a “historic momentum” and emphasized the two countries’ shared intent to grow and modernize this alliance.
“The Vice President reiterated the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder in defending the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea and reaffirmed the United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” the statement read.
The 1951 MDT stated that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, would invoke the mutual defense commitments of the United States.
The expression of commitment by Harris came as the Philippines and China engage in a word war over the former’s resupply missions in the Ayungin Shoal, which is part of Manila’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but Beijing claims as theirs.
Meanwhile, Marcos and Harris also discussed strengthening and broadening economic cooperation bilaterally and through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, one of these is the conclusion of the “123” civil nuclear cooperation agreement.
The agreement aims to deepen the US-Philippines partnership “to build a global clean energy economy and strengthen our shared commitment to improving energy security and advancing the global nonproliferation regime.”
According to Harris, the agreement “will provide the legal basis for US exports of nuclear equipment and material to the Philippines, which will support American workers and businesses.”
The Vice President also lauded a new partnership with the Philippines on the diversification of the global semiconductor ecosystem under the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund, created by the CHIPS Act of 2022.
“This partnership will help create a more resilient, secure, and sustainable global semiconductor value chain,” she added.
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