Marcos to meet with Biden to discuss Philippines-US defense, economic ties

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Marcos to meet with Biden to discuss Philippines-US defense, economic ties
US President Joe Biden meets with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City on September 22, 2022.
AFP / Mandel Ngan

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is expected to meet US President Joe Biden on May 1 at the White House to reaffirm the Philippines’ and the United States’ defense and economic ties, days after the largest joint military drills between the Philippines and United States are expected to conclude.

The White House press secretary said Friday that Biden’s meeting with Marcos will “reaffirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines” as the leaders will also “discuss efforts to strengthen the longstanding U.S.-Philippines alliance.”

The White House added that Marcos and Biden will also “review opportunities to deepen economic cooperation and promote inclusive prosperity” between the two countries.

The two leaders will also discuss regional matters and coordinate on efforts to uphold international law and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, the White House added.

According to the White House, Marcos and Biden are also expected to discuss other matters related to clean energy, climate change and human rights.  

Marcos will also be meeting with other US cabinet officials as part of a five-day trip to Washington beginning April 30 aimed at expanding the Philippines and the United States’ socio-economic and development partnerships, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday. 

“The trip will highlight the steadfast commitment by both sides to be reliable and resilient allies and partners in times of crisis and prosperity, amid a challenging global and regional environment,” the DFA said.

The Philippines and the United States kicked off the largest iteration of the Balikatan military exercises on April 11, drawing flak from Beijing and prompting China’s foreign ministry spokesperson to warn the Philippines from allowing the drills to interfere with maritime disputes in the region.

This comes after the Philippines greenlighted the expansion of American presence in the country through the creation of four new EDCA sites in April, which include sites near the hotly disputed South China Sea and another not far from Taiwan.  

China warned last week the expanded military deal could endanger regional peace, and accused Washington of a "zero-sum mentality." 

Marcos said China's reaction over the expanded military deal was "not surprising," but assured them the Philippines is only shoring up its territorial defense. 

“Now, China’s reaction perhaps was not surprising because they are worried. But we will not – we will not use, we will not allow, the Philippines, we will not allow our bases to be used for any offensive action. This is only to help the Philippines when the Philippines needs help,” Marcos told reporters on April 11. — with reports from AFP and The STAR / Helen Flores

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