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Angeles clarifies claim Biden only spoke to Marcos at UNGA sidelines

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Angeles clarifies claim Biden only spoke to Marcos at UNGA sidelines
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles holds a press briefing at the New Executive Building in Malacañang on Aug. 3, 2022.
The STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles apologized Friday for wrongly claiming that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was the only leader who US President Joe Biden spoke to at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

While her initial statement was admittedly incorrect, Angeles maintained that the Philippines’ request for Marcos to meet Biden at the margins of the UNGA was the only one granted.

“My apologies for my confusing statement. I did say that he was the only one who had met with Mr. Biden and that is incorrect,” Angeles told Philstar.com in a text message. “But our president was the only one whose request was acceded to.”

Speaking to Filipino reporters covering Marcos’ trip to the US to attend the UNGA, Angeles said that Marcos was the only leader Biden spoke with at the summit’s sidelines.

“Of several requests, I understand a lot of requests had been made to the US president, that it is significant that he spoke only with President Marcos on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly,” she said.

She added that Biden spoke with “one other person,” but quipped that this was “a postponed meeting.”

“All the more it becomes significant that President Marcos has been able to speak with the US president,” Angeles said.

In text messages to Philstar.com, Angeles reiterated that the other meetings leaders had with Biden had been previously agreed upon, but were just postponed and only went ahead at the UNGA sidelines.

According to White House readouts available on its website, Biden also met with at least three other leaders at the margins of the UNGA.

Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, for one, had a meeting at the UNGA sidelines where they talked about the importance of advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, especially when it comes to strengthening and modernizing their two countries’ security alliance.

The US president also met with his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Suk Yeol, at the margins of the UNGA, where they reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their countries’ alliance and ensured close cooperation to address the threat North Korea posed.

The UK’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, also met with Biden at the UNGA sidelines where they discussed a wide range of topics, including supporting Ukraine amid its war with Russia and addressing challenges posed by China.

At the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Biden and Marcos met in person for the first time to discuss the alliance between their countries, the situation in the South China Sea, Russia’s war against Ukraine and its impact on energy and food prices, along with other matters.

Biden said he seeks to build closer ties with the Philippines under Marcos despite “rocky times” between Washington and Manila in the past.

Marcos told Biden that the Philippines “continue[s] to look to the United States for that continuing partnership and the maintenance of peace in our region.”

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

JOE BIDEN

TRIXIE CRUZ-ANGELES

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