Marcos hails evolving Philippines-UK partnership

Helen Flores, Pia Lee Brago - The Philippine Star
Marcos hails evolving Philippines-UK partnership
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. meets with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during a courtesy call in Malacañang on August 29, 2023
(PPA pool photos by Yummie Dingding)

MANILA, Philippines — Security and defense partnership with the United Kingdom is evolving amid changes in the geopolitical landscape, President Marcos said yesterday, welcoming it as a “new development.”

“It is not traditional for us to look to Europe for our… to seek alliances and partnerships when it comes to security and defense. But that seems to be the evolution, the geopolitics these days. It is a welcome evolution in my view,” Marcos told visiting UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during their meeting at Malacañang. “Again your visit here, I think, is a clear indication of that intent,” he said.

UK’s top diplomat seeks to enhance its cooperation with the Philippines in the areas of trade, climate change and renewable energy.

Cleverly visited the country to discuss the new UK-Philippines Enhanced Partnership, including deepening defense and security ties between the two countries.

Cleverly, for his part, said his government is also looking at enhancing trade relations and increasing investments in the Philippines.

“We are now looking towards enhancing the trade relationship, which is in a good place, that there is still growth. I know that you are very focused on attracting investment into the country,” Cleverly told Marcos.

He said he discussed with British Ambassador Laure Beaufils the UK export finance facility, which he hopes would encourage UK companies “to invest more broadly.”

Cleverly also cited possible collaboration with the Philippines in the areas of climate change and renewable energy.

“And I know you’re very focused on your country’s response to climate change, renewable energy generation and how you deal with the sad implications of that. And I think once again that’s an area where we can work very, very closely together,” he said.

“Our relationship is founded on our shared values and shared belief in openness, freedom and the rule of law,” he pointed out.

He also highlighted the broader maritime cooperation between the UK and the Philippines.

“We have broadened our maritime cooperation, including sharing knowledge on maritime law, promoting Maritime Domain Awareness and advancing environmental protection,” he added.

He also visited the Philippine Coast Guard during his one-day visit in Manila to “hear about the work they do to uphold the UNCLOS and protect the environment.”

Cleverly, meanwhile, signed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo a Joint Statement of Intent to Develop a Framework Agreement that seeks to build on the exchanges the two countries have been doing in the areas of defense, security, maritime, climate, economic and people-to-peop e ties, since the Philippines-UK Enhanced Partnership was launched in 2021.

Manalo said Cleverly’s visit to Manila, the first by a British foreign secretary since 2016, “heartens us since it also signals the strengthening of our bilateral ties in trade, investments, security, maritime cooperation and other fields.”

“The Philippines and the UK are like-minded partners through our shared values of democracy and the rule of law, our unwavering commitment to the rules-based international order and our pursuit of peace and stability,” Manalo said.

“It is my hope that our commitment to further elevate our Enhanced Partnership will promote better understanding and enrich the enduring bonds of friendship between our governments and peoples,” he said.

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