“The United States and the Philippines are writing a new chapter in our storied alliance and building a multifaceted relationship for the 21st century,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said when she hosted a lunch recently for President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno S. Aquino III at the State Department in Washington, DC.
Last year, The United States and the Philippines celebrated the 60th anniversary of their Mutual Defense Treaty in Manila.
The two countries have signed a new agreement that will spur joint efforts on science and technology. Trade and economic linkages continue to deepen through initiatives like the Partnership for Growth, and the number of United States Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines will be increased.
“We are also working closely together to increase information and intelligence exchanges and coordination on maritime domain issues,” Secretary Clinton added. “And in this context, I'm pleased to announce . . . that the United States will support the construction, outfitting, and training of a new National Coast Watch Center in the Philippines.”
“As allies, our two nations consult on important regional issues, as we have done regarding our respective diplomacy in the South China Sea,” Secretary Clinton said. “The United States does not take a position on the competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. But we do . . . have a clear interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea.”
”The United States welcomes the initial steps to defuse tensions surrounding the Scarborough Reef taken by President Aquino, and we encourage continued diplomatic dialogue and further efforts to lessen tension, to disengage, and to resolve the situation peacefully,” Secretary Clinton said. ”The United States has been consistent in that we oppose the use of force or coercion by any claimant to advance its claims, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely. We also call on ASEAN and China to conclude their efforts to reach consensus on a code of conduct for the South China Sea.”
“This is the time . . . to celebrate the friendship between our nations,” Secretary Clinton said in conclusion. “So please join me in a toast to the president and to the people of the Philippines, and to the partnership and friendship between the United States and the Philippines.”