MANILA — United States Vice President Kamala Harris met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Malacañang Palace Monday, reaffirming the longstanding ties between the 2 nations.
Harris underscored the superpower's "long and enduring" relationship with the Philippines, further describing it as "multifaceted."
She also assured Marcos of the two countries' relationship to address concerns on security in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the South China Sea.
Harris pointed out that any armed attack on the Philippine military, as well as the country's public vessels and aircraft "would invoke the US mutual defense commitment."
"We must reiterate always that we stand with you in defense, in international rules and norms in the South China Sea," Harris told Marcos.
"When we think about what is happening in this region, we know that there are so many opportunities for us to strengthen our relationship. But the basis of our relationship is based on mutual commitments to international rules and norms and upholding those in all the ways that we know," she added.
Marcos, for his part, said that Harris' visit to the Philippines is a "very strong symbol" that the country's relationship with the superpower "remain strong."
"The situation is rapidly changing. We must evolve to be properly responsive to that situation, so it's very important that we could continue to progress and strengthen as we define those relationships," Marcos said.
He also noted that the Philippines' relations with the United States had gone through "different phases" and has strengthened in "every way."
"In the economic sense, the political sense, defense, security, we cannot think of an area where we have not cooperated, collaborated and have had good results for both our countries."
The two leaders are also expected to talk about the US and the Philippines' possible collaborations to address mutual concerns on climate crisis and investments in renewable energy and clean power.
The White House earlier announced that the US and the Philippines will begin talks on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement that could lead to future sales of US nuclear reactors to the country.
Harris is the highest ranking American official to visit the Philippines since Marcos assumed the presidency last June.
Harris' husband Douglas Emhoff earlier visited the country to attend Marcos' inauguration. Emhoff's visit, Harris said, paved the way for her own visit Monday.