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PH-US alliance ‘stronger than ever’, says Amb. Carlson

United States Ambassador to Manila MaryKay Carlson believes that the alliance between the Philippines and the United States is “stronger than ever” as she met with the country’s top defense officials amid China’s demands for both countries to stop their military activities in the West Philippine Sea.

Carlson_Brawner.jpg(From left) AFP Chief-of-Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. and US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson (Photo from Amb. Carlson’s X post)

In separate posts on X (formerly Twitter), the ambassador shared photos of her meeting with National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr.

“I agree with Gen. Brawner: The (US-Philippine) alliance is stronger than ever! Appreciate recent @TeamAFP and @US7thFleet efforts to uphold freedom of navigation and a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific,” she wrote.

“Looking forward to furthering our collaboration as #FriendsPartnersAllies,” she added as shared a photo with the general.

In another tweet, she expressed Washington’s commitment as Manila’s friend and ally.

“Honored to call on NSA Eduardo Año to express appreciation for his leadership and the Philippines’ consistent position in support of international maritime law. We stand with our Philippine #FriendsPartnersAllies,” Carlson said, sharing also a photo with the NSA chief.

Though the meetings were undated, the ambassador’s X posts came after the Chinese Foreign Ministry last Thursday, Jan. 4, demanded for the United States and the Philippines to stop what it described as “irresponsible” and “muscle-flexing provocative” military activities in the South China Sea.

But Año defended the Philippines’ rights to conduct joint maritime activities with the United States as these were conducted within Manila’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“The Philippines is merely exercising its sovereign right to engage in such activities within its territory and these exercises are aimed at enhancing our maritime capabilities and interoperability with the US which is a treaty partner to ensure the security and stability of the region,” he said in a statement.

China’s claim of the entire South China Sea, including maritime features inside the Philippines’ EEZ, has caused widespread international concern for the peace and stability of the region.

It also rejected a 2016 arbitral award ruling that invalidated its nine-dash line policy, the basis of its sweeping claims in the region, a vital sea lane that’s home to an estimated $3.37 trillion worth, or 21. percent, of global trade.

Tensions rose once more when President Marcos’ foreign policy pivoted back to the United States, a traditional ally, angering China, which had enjoyed a friendly relation with former president Rodrigo Duterte.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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