US State Secretary Blinken to visit Philippines in August: DFA

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2022 12:43 AM | Updated as of Jul 30 2022 09:15 AM

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken EPA-EFE/
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, July 8, 2022. EPA-EFE/WILLY KURNIAWAN/POOL/FILE

MANILA (UPDATED)- US State Secretary Antony Blinken will visit the Philippines for the first time from August 5 to 6, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

In a statement, the DFA said Blinken will meet Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo to discuss a wide range of issues, including strengthening the Philippine-US alliance, expanding economic cooperation, and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate crisis, among other challenges.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price also confirmed in a statement that the American top diplomat will meet President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

They will also talk about both countries' "increased cooperation on energy, trade, and investment, advancing our shared democratic values, and pandemic recovery."

Price said Blinken will be coming from Phnom Penh, Cambodia after the US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. 

"We welcome the statements that President Marcos recently made about the importance of preserving the Philippines’ territorial integrity," East Asian and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel J. Kritenbrink said in a press conference following the release of Blinken's official trip next month.

"Secretary Blinken will reinforce and underscore to our Philippine allies that our commitment to our Mutual Defense Treaty is ironclad.

"He also intends to have important discussions on enhanced cooperation on trade and investment and on clean energy, as well as on advancing our shared democratic values and strengthening respect for human rights, including press freedom."

The US official's visit comes more than a month after Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with then-President-elect Marcos.

Blinken is the first US State Secretary to visit the Philippines since his predecessor Mike Pompeo's trip to Manila in 2019 during the Trump administration.

Blinken's trip to Manila comes as the United States and China jostle for global power, especially in the Indo-Pacific, wherein Washington has pivoted its leadership efforts to challenge Beijing's aggression and rising influence in the region. — With a report by Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

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