Marcos sees 'more prosperous' Indo-Pacific through cooperation with US, Japan

Marcos sees 'more prosperous' Indo-Pacific through cooperation with US, Japan
Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks during a trilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (off frame) in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 11, 2024.
AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday said that collaborative actions with the United States and Japan will lay the foundations for a "brighter and more prosperous future" for the Indo-Pacific region. 

Marcos arrived in Manila on Sunday morning following a historic trilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington.

"During our meeting, we reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We are guided by our shared values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality," Marcos said. 

"We explored ways of enhancing our cooperation in a number of areas of mutual concern, including in enhancing economic resilience and security, promoting inclusive growth and development, addressing climate change and maritime cooperation," he added. 

Last Thursday, Biden told Marcos and Kishida that Washington's defense commitments to Manila and Tokyo are "ironclad."

A joint statement issued by the three leaders expressed "serious concern" over Beijing's actions in the South China Sea, criticizing its behavior as "dangerous and aggressive."

Philippine and Chinese vessels have had a series of confrontations in recent months that included the use of water cannons. 

According to Marcos, the US and Japan pledged their support for infrastructure development and connectivity in the Philippines, workforce development for the semiconductor industry, capacity building in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the Philippines' membership in the Minerals Security Partnership Forum, a new platform for cooperation in critical raw materials for global green transition. 

"I emphasize that the trilateral cooperation between US, Japan and Philippines is a natural progression of the strong relations between close allies," Marcos said. 

"Together, we can harness the power of infrastructure and innovation to drive sustainable development and economic growth," he added.

China slammed the joint summit, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning saying Beijing "firmly opposes the relevant countries manipulating bloc politics, and firmly opposes any behavior that provokes or lays plans for opposition, and hurts other countries' strategic security and interests." — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Agence France-Presse

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