Philippines, US reaffirm commitment to strengthening defense ties

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In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana traveled to the United States of America to meet with key US officials.

Following their bilateral meeting on July 30, 2021 in Manila, Secretary Lorenzana met with his counterpart, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, on September 10 in Washington, DC, where both parties reaffirmed their determination to further strengthen bilateral defense relations.

Both parties now have a greater understanding of each other’s defense and security interests, according to Secretary Lorenzana, and have agreed on shared alliance and regional goals. The two Secretaries also discussed and agreed on common perspectives and methods on regional issues and concerns.

Secretary Austin praised the Philippines’ decision to reinstate the Agreement Regarding the Treatment of US Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines (VFA), which demonstrates both sides’ commitment to bolstering the long-standing partnership.

The defense secretaries reviewed developments in the West Philippine Sea, with Secretary Austin confirming the United States’ commitments to the Philippines under the Mutual Defense Treaty.

The two Secretaries also agreed to hold a Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) to explore the alliance’s shared aims in greater depth, and they urged their respective military forces to continue cooperating under the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB).

Both parties also agreed to collaborate on a bilateral marine framework to strengthen maritime cooperation, as well as to resume projects in authorized Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) locations in the Philippines.

The two Secretaries reaffirmed their friendship, partnership, and alliance between the Philippines and the United States at the end of the meeting. Both sides reiterated that the engagement is a willing commitment to maintain the relationship unbreakable, not just a performance of MDT responsibilities.

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