Locsin discusses UK's 'Indo-Pacific tilt' with British Foreign Secretary Raab over phone in lieu of London visit

Published July 26, 2021, 6:12 AM

by Roy Mabasa

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and British Foreign Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs Dominic Raab spoke over the phone to discuss the prospects of enhanced cooperation in time for the celebration of this year’s 75th anniversary of the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Locsin was supposed to visit London this month upon the invitation of the UK government, according to a media readout issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs over the weekend.

The phone conversation was ahead of the arrival of the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Philippine Sea in August for the biggest multilateral military exercise with the United States and other major allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

In their phone conversation, Locsin and Saab exchanged views on regional developments including the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt and its future relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Both foreign ministers called for greater efforts to boost partnership in areas such as trade and investment, defense, climate change and consular affairs.

According to a media readout released by the DFA, Locsin proposed to his counterpart expanded cooperation on law enforcement capacity building.

He also discussed the development of a digital yellow card for seafarers by members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and called for the UK’s overdue review and reconsideration of lifting its travel ban on the Philippines.

In August, the HMS Queen Elizabeth will operate with a US Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea along with the naval and air forces from Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying earlier that the planned exercise is UK’s commitment to work with its partners to “defend democratic values, tackle shared threats and keep our nations safe”.

“The involvement of the UK’s fifth-generation Carrier Strike Group in this significant series of exercises right across the Indo-Pacific region highlights the renewed importance we place on the UK’s long-standing defence and security relationships with our valued partners and allies in the region,” Wallace said in a statement during his visit in Hawaii last week.