PH gov't statement on PNoy's meeting with Pres. Obama
President Aquino visited the Oval Office this afternoon upon the invitation of President Obama.
The US remains the Philippines’ sole treaty ally, our second largest trading partner in 2011, and our second biggest source of foreign direct investments. We marked the 60th anniversary of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty last year, so this is a most opportune time to review where we are, and lay markers for the future.
Both leaders reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the peace and security of the region and to the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment tostrengthening the bilateral relationship. The U.S.-Philippines partnership is based on our shared history, democratic values, and mutual interests. It is rooted in our bilateral alliance, which has contributed to the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region for over 60 years.
The Presidents reviewed recent progress made in enhancing bilateral cooperation since their previous meeting at the East Asia Summit in November. They welcomed the outcomes of the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue and the first ever “2+2” ministerial consultation in April, including the commitments on regional strategic issues, security and economic cooperation, and supporting the rule of law.
President Aquino welcomed the U.S. Government’s strong support for Philippine efforts to build a minimum credible defense posture, as evidenced by the transfer of a second U.S. Coast Guard Cutter to the Philippine Navy, the renewed commitment of support for the Philippine National Coast Watch System, and the growing number of bilateral exercises and training programs. The two leaders agreed to build on our successful security cooperation on counterterrorism by expanding efforts to enhance joint military capabilities and interoperability in humanitarian assistance, as well as in the areas ofdisaster relief, maritime security, and maritime domain awareness.
The leaders acknowledged the importance of a strong economicrelationship to both sides, and committed to redouble efforts to bolster and deepen the bilateral trade relationship, throughexpanding trade, and promoting greater economic integration in the Asia Pacific. In particular, President Obama noted the positive dialogue taking place under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and the importance of expanding bilateral trade in key agricultural products of interest to both countries. President Aquino briefed President Obama on the Philippines’ food security agenda, including our hope to reach an agreement on an extension of our special WTO arrangement for rice imports. He also welcomed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s start of the consultation process on a rule to allow the importation of Philippine bananas into the US. President Aquino solicited the support of President Obama for mutually beneficial, employment generating measures like the SAVE our Industries Act.
President Obama commended President Aquino’s commitment to promoting good governance, improving government transparency, and countering corruption as key to generating inclusive economic growth. The leaders agreed to continue to push for progress towards those goals in the Open Government Partnership, through theimplementation of the Philippines Millennium Challenge Corporation compact grant, and through the Philippines’participation in the Partnership for Growth. They also welcomed the signing of a Science and Technology agreement that will help boost innovation by facilitating collaborative scientific activities and promoting the exchange of ideas, information, skills and technology.
The two leaders underscored the importance of the long and close ties between the people of the United States and the Philippines, as well as the significant contributions our people have made to each other’s security, prosperity and culture. They each pledged tocontinue to deepen those ties through continued educational and cultural exchanges, and welcomed the founding of the U.S.-Philippines society to further build bilateral ties.
The President welcomed the renewed U.S. strategic focus and rebalancing in the Asia Pacific Region, as well as active participation in the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting and other regional fora. President Obama thanked President Aquino for his role as U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue Partner in facilitating the United States’ participation in the East Asia Summit for the first time last year.
The President briefed President Obama on regional developments, including the situation in the South China Sea. They underscored the importance of the principles of ensuring freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce.They expressed firm support for a collaborative diplomatic processamong claimants to resolve territorial disputes in a manner consistent with international law and without coercion or the use of force. President Obama conveyed his support for the ongoing efforts within ASEAN to reach an agreement with China on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that creates a rules-based framework for managing and regulating the conduct of parties, including preventing and managing disputes. President Aquino welcomed the efforts being taken by President Obama to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Finally, President Obama and President Aquino committed to maintaining the intensified pace and scope of our bilateral engagement established over the last two years through sustained strategic dialogue and joint activities, in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual responsibility.