Secretary of States Hillary Rodham Clinton today met Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario to consult on counterterrorism and maritime security issues.
“The Philippines and the United States are longstanding allies, and we are committed to honoring our mutual obligations. This year, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which continues to serve as a pillar of our relationship and a source of stability in the region.” -Ms. Clinton
She said whether working together to combat extremism, help victims of natural disaster, or stand up for human rights, the people of both countries share a vision of a better world and a mutual desire to take action.
According to Ms. Clinton, both countries discussed a number of bilateral issues in its Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, which brings together representatives of their defense and diplomatic communities to work towards solving common problems that affect both nations.
In maritime security issues, the United States recently transferred a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine navy and helped the Philippines establish a coastal radar system so it can monitor its own waters more closely.
She said both countries discussed the Philippines outstanding efforts to reduce poverty and fight corruption under President Aquino. Through the U.S. $434 million Millennium Challenge Compact, both countries are working to reduce poverty and spark economic growth.
“And the Philippines is only one of four countries in the entire world invited to participate in the Partnership for Growth, which will bring together experts to identify the biggest barriers to economic growth and find ways to overcome them.” -Ms. Clinton
She pointed out that the Philippines is also playing a high-profile role in the Open Government Partnership, which is a priority of President Obama’s to improve governance and transparency.
According to Ms. Clinton, both countries discussed a wide range of regional and global issues, including the Philippines leadership in the Asia Pacific region.
She said the Obama Administration is committed to enhancing its engagement in the region. Ms. Clinton highlighted that the Philippines is an important regional partner on issues such as human rights, political and economic reform.
She noted that both countries also discussed recent events in the South China Sea. She said the U.S. government is concerned that recent incidents in the South China Sea could undermine peace and stability in the region.
“We urge all sides to exercise self-restraint, and we will continue to consult closely with all countries involved, including our treaty ally, the Philippines.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton reiterated that the United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and unimpeded, lawful commerce in the South China Sea.