US says ready to work with Marcos administration

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2022 03:19 PM

MANILA —The United States on Tuesday said it looks forward to working with the administration of presidential frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to strengthen its alliance with the Philippines and expand cooperation in various areas.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink told reporters that President Joe Biden’s call last week to Marcos shows his country's readiness to work with Marcos.

“The President underscored he looks forward to working with the president-elect to continue strengthening our alliance and expanding our cooperation on a broad range of issues. Between the summit and, of course, the President’s call, I think you can say that we very much look forward with the new president-elect… to further strengthen our alliance,” Kritenbrink said.

Edgard Kagan, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for East Asia and Oceania on the National Security Council (NSC), said it is the US’ desire to strengthen bilateral relationship as well as work closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noting that the organization offers the platform for countries to work together and advance trust.

“Our broader desire is to continue strengthening our bilateral relationship. And we very much believe that it is in keeping with strengthening our bilateral relationship to work together more closely in the context of ASEAN,” Kagan said.

Biden last week spoke with Marcos to congratulate him on his election, and said he looks forward to working with the presumptive Philippine leader to boost Manila and Washington's relations.

Among the issues they hope to boost cooperation on are the fight against COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, promotion of broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights.

This weekend, ASEAN and US leaders also reaffirmed their shared commitment to strengthen and build more on the comprehensive ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations, and to maintain and promote peace, security, and stability in the region.

They committed to advance cooperation in maritime domain through ASEAN-led mechanisms.

They vow to forge “new ties as well as to promote cooperation and coordination among our relevant agencies, including maritime law enforcement agencies, to collaborate to improve maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, maritime security, and to curb illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing through sharing of information, best practices and expertise” and technical assistance.

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