Marcos: Harris visit 'very strong symbol' of Philippines-US alliance

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — US Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to the Philippines is a 'very strong symbol' of the enduring alliance between the Philippines and the United States, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Monday.

Harris paid a courtesy call on Marcos at Malacañan as part of a visit that a senior US administration official said is meant to strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and the US.

Ties between the two countries are now being mended, following tumultuous times under the previous administration with former President Rodrigo Duterte distancing the country from the US in favor of China and Russia.

"We went through different phases of relationship, but as in since the war, it has just been strengthened in every way," Marcos said.

"I cannot think of an area where we have not cooperated, collaborated, and have had good results for both countries," Marcos said as he told Harris that her visit is "a very strong symbol" of the enduring relationship between the two countries.

"I have said many times, I do not see a future for the Philippines that does not include the United States."

The US is the Philippines' treaty ally and former colonizer.

READ: Marcos foreign policy so far: Clear stance on West Philippine Sea dispute

Reaffirming 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty

At the same meeting, the US reaffirmed its "unwavering commitment" to its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines.

"I will say that we must reiterate always that we stand with you in defense of international rules and norms as it relates to the South China Sea," Harris told Marcos.

"An armed attack on the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defense commitments," she added, emphasizing previous pronouncements that Washington would come to Manila’s defense if needed.

Harris emphasized that this is an "unwavering commitment" the US aims to maintain.

READ: US backs Philippines on WPS, warns that Washington will back Manila should there be armed attacks

Nationalist groups have long protested the Philippines' military ties to the US, saying it puts the country at risk.




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