President Marcos back from trilateral summit in United States

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
President Marcos back from trilateral summit in United States
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Bongbong Marcos / Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos arrived in the country before dawn yesterday from a first-ever trilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, where he secured stronger security commitments and expanded economic cooperation from the Philippines’ long-time allies.

The plane carrying Marcos and his delegation landed at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 3:03 a.m., according to the Presidential Communications Office.

In his arrival message posted on YouTube, the President reported on the agreements entered into by the government with the two nations during his three-day visit to Washington, including the Luzon Economic Corridor under the G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

The Luzon Economic Corridor is the first project of its kind in the Indo-Pacific and will connect Subic Bay, Clark, Manila and Batangas to accelerate coordinated investments in high-impact infrastructure projects, including ports, rail, clean energy, semiconductors, supply chains and other forms of connectivity in the country.

Marcos said the US and Japan also supported the Philippines’ implementation of the Open Radio Access Network or O-RAN, workforce development for the semiconductor industry, capacity-building in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the country’s membership in the Minerals Security Partnership Forum.

On regional and security issues, the President said they have reaffirmed during the trilateral meeting their commitment to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, anchored on their shared values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and gender equality.

“We also exchanged views on a number of regional security issues of mutual concern. I took the opportunity to update President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida on the latest developments in the South China Sea, including the recent incident at Ayungin Shoal,” 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,” the Chief Executive continued.

Marcos said he and Biden also reaffirmed their commitment to the long-standing Philippines-US alliance during their bilateral meeting. The Philippines and the US have the 72-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty that binds them to come to each other’s defense if either is attacked by an external aggressor.

The trilateral summit happened in light of Beijing’s repeated harassment of Filipino vessels inside Philippines waters. A Philippine official, however, had stressed the trilateral summit was not directed at any country.

“I emphasized the trilateral cooperation between the US, Japan, and the Philippines is a natural progression of the strong relations between close allies,” Marcos stressed.

Meanwhile, the President said he is looking forward to the country’s hosting of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum next month.

“The Indo-Pacific Business Forum scheduled for May 21 this year in Manila promises to be a significant platform for fostering infrastructure development, and reinforcing economic ties in the region,” he said.

Over 500 senior executives and government officials are expected to attend the conference, which will serve as a catalyst for driving investment and growth in emerging economies, according to Marcos.

The government is also expecting over $100 billion in investments from the trilateral meeting over the next five years.

Speaker: Summit a ‘monumental victory’

Speaker Martin Romualdez congratulated Marcos for a job well done, and for achieving a “monumental diplomatic victory” for the country in his historic trilateral meeting with the US and Japan leaders.

“On behalf of the entire House of Representatives, I extend my warmest congratulations to the President for his remarkable achievement in securing a monumental diplomatic victory through the recent historic trilateral meeting with the US and Japan,” Romualdez said in a statement.

“The collaboration and dialogue fostered during this meeting pave the way for enhanced cooperation in addressing regional challenges, particularly in promoting maritime security, safeguarding our territorial integrity and improving the lives of the Filipino people,” the House leader added.

The first cousin of Marcos said the “trilateral meeting signifies a strong and united commitment of the three nations to upholding the principles of international law and ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight in the region which are vital in ensuring peace, stability and prosperity.” — Delon Porcalla, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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