Oliver Bugarin 4 0 0 5 min to read

US and PH reiterate vow to bolster defense ties.

During their first phone call on Thursday, the officer in charge of the Department of National Defense (DND), Undersecretary Jose C. Faustino Jr., and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, reiterated the strong defense ties between the two nations.

According to a statement released by the DND on Friday, “the call marked the first bilateral engagement between the two defense authorities since Senior Undersecretary Faustino’s appointment as an officer in command of the DND on June 30, 2022.”

Both representatives reiterated their dedication to the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

Austin highlighted that the US commitment to the alliance “remains solid,” while Faustino emphasized that the MDT is the cornerstone of the Philippines-US alliance and joint defense capabilities projects.

The two officials also exchanged views on recent security events in the region and discussed updates on security assistance cooperation.

“Undersecretary Faustino brought up that the Philippines has urged moderation and expressed hope that issues will be resolved diplomatically. The DND would tenaciously carry out its mandate to defend the nation’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and sovereign rights, he stated, according to Andolong.

Austin, meanwhile, expressed gratitude for Faustino’s assistance in advancing the bilateral defense cooperation between the US and the Philippines, particularly in leading the initiative for the reinstatement of routine military drills and laying the foundation for flexible maritime security cooperation between the US and the Philippines.

The importance of strengthening collaboration under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement was also mentioned by both parties (EDCA).

“Both officials indicated the desire to have further in-person meetings in the future. The valued friendship, partnership, and alliance between the Philippines and the US were reiterated by the two officials as the meeting came to a close, according to Andolong.

At the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on Wednesday, Faustino also had a meeting with MaryKay L. Carlson, the US ambassador to the Philippines.

The recent high-level visits of senior US officials to the Philippines, updates on security assistance collaboration, upcoming bilateral defense operations, and cooperation on communications and information sharing were all topics of discussion, according to Andolong.

The necessity of preserving regional security and freedom of navigation was acknowledged by both parties, who also emphasized the two nations’ long-standing alliance based on shared principles.

“Ambassador Carlson noted that the Philippines-US MDT is a significant and comprehensive agreement that ensures the security of both nations as a whole. She appreciated the department’s suggestions for strengthening the alliance between the US Embassy and the US government. The Philippines-US MDT, which served as the foundation for the alliance and ongoing joint defense capacity projects, is still the only defense treaty the Philippines has with another country, according to Undersecretary Faustino, who also emphasized this.

Both parties looked into the prospect of collaborating with other partner nations to address shared problems.

The Philippines and the United States have a bilateral defense alliance, and expanding collaboration with like-minded nations does not weaken that relationship, according to Ambassador Carlson, Andolong said. Rather, it strengthens both nations’ efforts.

The Philippine side presented updates on the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program; he continued and suggested looking into potential research and development collaborations with the US to assist the DND’s Self-Reliant Defense Posture program.

The two officials also talked about the information-sharing process’ upcoming steps.

The friendship, partnership, and alliance between the US and the Philippines were reiterated by the two officials as their meeting came to a close, according to Andolong.

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