Marcos, Singapore FM discuss areas of cooperation

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos, Singapore FM discuss areas of cooperation
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on March 18, 2024.
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos met with Singaporean Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday to talk about green energy, carbon credits and other new cooperation areas between their countries, which will celebrate 55 years of diplomatic ties next month.

The meeting, one of Balakrishnan’s engagements in his three-day official visit to the Philippines, took place at Bahay Pangulo, Marcos’ official residence.

Present at the meeting were First Lady Liza Marcos and Balakrishnan’s wife Joy.

“Our countries share a rich history of friendship and 55 years of diplomatic relations,” Marcos said in a post on Instagram on Monday.

Balakrishnan said he was honored to be received by the First Couple.

“It was good to meet the President again after his state visit in Singapore in 2022,” Balakrishnan said.

“We exchanged views on regional developments and spoke about new areas of collaboration, such as on green energy and carbon credits,” he added.

Balakrishnan said he was looking forward to strengthening ties when he and Marcos meet again at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore.

The event, described as Asia’s premier defense summit, will be held from May 31 to June 2.

Balakrishnan’s visit, which will end today, is a follow-up to the successful convention of the 6th Informal-Consultations on the Philippine-Singapore Action Plan in February, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“It is expected to build on the gains of the consultations and plan for future engagements as relations between the two countries deepen,” the DFA added.

The Philippines and Singapore have had multi-faceted engagement in defense and security, trade and investment and cultural and people-to-people exchanges for more than 50 years.

Balakrishnan made his introductory visit to the Philippines on June, 13, 2017.

During Marcos’ state visit in Singapore in 2022, he and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing and exchange of agreements on counterterrorism, personal data protection, digital cooperation, water resource management and investments.

The two countries established diplomatic relations on May 16, 1969.

Balakrishnan also met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo yesterday to discuss matters of mutual interest between the countries.

Manalo said the Philippines and Singapore committed to deepen their defense, security and maritime cooperations.

“The Philippines commits to working closely with Singapore in implementing our signed bilateral agreements and MOUs, especially those that were signed during the visit of Marcos in 2022,” Manalo said.

“We also had an extensive discussion on the South China Sea and I briefed the Foreign Minister on the Philippines’ position on the South China Sea, which has been consistent, clear and firmly anchored on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea,” he added.

Manalo said that during the meeting, he emphasized that the Philippines remains committed to peaceful dialogue and diplomacy as well as to making bilateral mechanisms with other claimant states work.

“We are steadfast in our adherence to the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and committed to an effective and substantive Code of Conduct based on the 1982 UNCLOS. We agreed that peace in the South China Sea is beneficial to both the Philippines and Singapore, as well as to our entire region,” Manalo said.

Manalo shared with his Singaporean counterpart the results of the recent Trilateral Summit, and also discussed Marcos’ upcoming Singapore visit for the 21st IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. — Pia Lee-Brago

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