US President Joe Biden received his Philippine counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., at the White House on Monday amid concerns over harassment of Philippine ships by Chinese ships in the South China Sea.
“Welcome to the White House (…) It’s been a while since you’ve been here,” Biden greeted his Filipino counterpart, referring to a previous meeting between the president and his father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos. Ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, mostly under martial law.
During brief exchanges with access to the press, the two leaders discussed bilateral issues including deepening economic cooperation and the fight against climate change. “We are facing new challenges and I can’t think of a better partner than you,” Biden said.
“We are going to announce today that we will be sending a Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines, the first of its kind,” the Democratic president said. our shared democratic values and workers’ rights and the rule of law”.
Biden stressed that the US maintains a “strong commitment” to the defense of the Philippines, including the country’s position in its dispute with Beijing over control of the South China Sea, adding that he would “continue to support the Philippines’ military modernization”. Will keep.” ,
Marcos Jr., for his part, stressed that the two countries should “diversify ways to strengthen alliance and union in the face of a new economy after the pandemic.”
“In addition, there are also new political problems, which have made the region where the Philippines is located possibly the most complex geopolitical situation in the world at the moment,” the Philippine president stressed.
He also said it was “natural” for his country to seek to “reinvigorate, redefine” ties with its American ally and each nation’s role in the “rising tensions we are seeing now, around South China”. Sea and the Asia Pacific”.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr. traveled to Washington with a large delegation of senior officials in his government, including the secretaries of the Office of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Energy, Justice, Environment, and Migrant Workers, among other officials.
The visit comes after the United States and the Philippines completed their largest military exercise in history last week, and will coincide with joint training of fighter pilots for the first time since 1990.
This year, the Philippines agreed to give the United States access to four more bases in the country as Washington tries to rein in Beijing’s aggressive moves toward Taiwan and other neighbors.
Meanwhile, China has angered the Philippines for harassment of Coast Guard and Navy patrol boats and intimidating fishing boats in Philippine coastal waters but is claimed by Beijing.
Before traveling to Washington on Sunday, Marcos declared that he was “determined to build an even stronger relationship with the United States in a wide range of areas, not only those that concern our times but those that are also important enough to advance our fundamental interests”.
The meeting is the most recent diplomatic gesture by the Biden administration with leaders from the Pacific region. This is the first official visit by a Philippine President to Washington in more than 10 years.
Biden Received South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol Last week, and the two leaders announced measures to prevent North Korea from launching attacks on its neighbors. Biden is scheduled to travel to Japan and Australia in May.