Ex-DFA chief welcomes appointment of new US State Secretary Blinken

Published January 27, 2021, 5:04 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of Antony Blinken as the new US Secretary of State and former US Ambassador to Manila as acting assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. 

Antony J. Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The US Senate, in a 78-22 vote on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, approved Blinken’s appointment as the next US State Secretary replacing Michael Pompeo. Blinken is a known close associate of now US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. 

In a statement, Del Rosario recalled having worked with Blinken when the latter was still Deputy Secretary of State under the Obama administration. 

“Before stepping down as Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, I recall that Ambassador Joey Cuisia and I engaged the then Deputy Secretary in D.C. to decide to undertake joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea,” Del Rosario said. 

In the same statement, the former Philippines’ top diplomat also welcomed the appointment of former US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, a level of position “where foreign policy is formulated and made to happen.”

Kim will oversee foreign affairs policies involving East Asia and the Pacific, including China, Japan, South Korea, and the 10-nation ASEAN, of which the Philippines is a member.

“Acting Assistant Secretary Sung Kim is an effective and tested diplomat. We have had the good fortune of benefiting from his experience and skills. To manage the prevailing challenges in our side of the world, he will be instrumental for the US and its policy in the Indo-Pacific,” said Del Rosario who was one of the chief architects of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China. On July 12, 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of that petition seeking to nullify China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.  

Del Rosario, who also served as a Philippine envoy to Washington under the Arroyo administration, said the appointments of Blinken and Kim “represent our country’s sole treaty ally and longtime defense partner.”