United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr that the US remains committed to the two countries’ defense pact, which sees the US and the Philippines commit to defend one another in case of an attack.
“We’re committed to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). We’re committed to working with you on shared challenges, Blinken said during a meeting with the Philippine president on Saturday, August 6.
During their meeting in Malacañang, the state secretary thanked Marcos for discussing important matters on US and Philippines relations with him, as well as the “quite extraordinary” ties between the two countries.
“Our relationship is quite extraordinary because it is really founded in friendship, it’s forged as well in partnership and it’s strengthened by the fact that it’s an alliance as well. To your point, the people to people ties between us are almost unique and it’s something that we tremendously value in the United States just as I know that you do here,” the US top official said.
Blinken is the highest highest-ranking U.S. official to travel to the Philippines so far, after Marcos assumed the presidency on June 30.
Blinken arrived at Villamor Airbase late Friday night, following his participation in the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh in Cambodia over the past week.
During the visit, Marcos reiterated the importance of the two nations’ relations amid a “volatile international diplomatic scene,” citing the tensions between Taiwan and China, as well as the war in Ukraine.
“I hope that we will continue to evolve that relationship in the face of all the changes we have been seeing and the changes that are between in our bilateral relationship with the United States,” said Marcos.
He added that the Mutual Defense Treaty, the pact which obligates both sides to help each other in case of external aggression, “is evolving.”
“We are too closely tied because of the special relationship between the United States and the Philippines and the history that we share. And of course, all the assistance and help and support that we have received from the United States over the years,” Marcos said.
He also reassured Marcos that the US will continue working with the Philippines despite the challenges the two countries are facing globally, which includes the COVID-19 pandemic.