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PHL, U.S. reaffirm Mutual Defense Treaty as foundation of relationship; sign Manila Declaration

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The Philippines and the United States reaffirmed the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the two countries as the foundation of their relationship for the next 60 years and beyond with the signing of the Manila Declaration on Wednesday.

Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario signed the Declaration in a ceremony aboard the U.S. warship USS Fitzgerald in Manila Bay.

Clinton arrived in Manila on Tuesday afternoon to sign an economic partnership agreement and strengthen defense cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines.

The Declaration states: ”On this historic occasion, we reflect on the rich history of our alliance and the continuing relevance of the treaty for peace, security, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. We also reaffirm the treaty as the foundation of our relationship for the next 60 years and beyond.”
It further states that the United States and the Philippines are bound by a deep and abiding friendship forged by a history of shared sacrifice and common purpose.

”The many Filipinos who bravely served side-by-side with American servicemen and women during World War II and the veterans of our two nations buried at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio bear testament to our profound and enduring bonds. These bonds are enriched by the presence in the U.S. of over four million Filipinos and Filipino Americans, and in the Philippines by over 150,000 Americans, who help shape the political and economic future of both countries,” the Declaration says.

”We expect to maintain a robust, balanced, and responsive security partnership, including cooperating to enhance the defense, interdiction, and apprehension capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” it further states.

The Declaration also expresses the two countries’ determination to continue bilateral cooperation in addressing broader regional and global challenges, including maritime security and threats to security such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, transnational crime and effective cooperation to counter al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups in the southern Philippines.

The Declaration likewise states that the Philippines and the U.S. share a common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and transit of people across the seas and subscribe to a rules-based approach in resolving competing claims in maritime areas through peaceful, collaborative, multilateral, and diplomatic processes within the framework of international law.

“We are committed to advancing our nations’ mutual security interests through continuing a high-level strategic dialogue. We also support increasing regional cooperation in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM+), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the East Asia Summit (EAS),” it adds.

Both countries also committed to recognize the urgent need as expressed in the Partnership for Growth Statement of Principles to reduce poverty by creating inclusive, sustainable economic growth in the Philippines.

”We jointly endeavor to contribute to our peoples’ mutual prosperity and benefit by continuing our engagement in the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and promoting bilateral initiatives that will support job creation efforts in both countries,” the Declaration also states.

It also notes "that 60 years on, the Philippines-United States alliance has never been stronger and will continue to expand in the 21st century as the two countries chart a new direction for our critical partnership, in the defense realm and beyond."

”Our common values, commitment to democracy and the rule of law, robust economic relationship, and strong people-to-people ties will continue to ensure that our partnership remains strong and vibrant well into the future. With an enduring history of shared sacrifice and common purpose, the people and governments of our two countries will act together to build a better and more prosperous world for future generations,” the Declaration stresses.

By Faye P. Velasco - PNA




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