United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday, Aug. 6, assured President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of Washington’s commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), which will provide foreign support to each other in the Pacific in case of external armed attack.
During their meeting in Malacañang, the state secretary thanked Marcos for discussing important matters on US and Philippines relations with him, as well as the “quite extraordinary” ties between the two countries.
In particular, Blinken stressed the US’ commitment to the MDT, which geopolitical experts noted could take effect if the tensions between China and the Philippines in the disputed West Philippine Sea rise to an armed conflict.
Beijing maintained that Washington should not interfere in regional matters.
“Our relationship is quite extraordinary because it is really founded in friendship, it’s forged as well in partnership and it’s strengthened by the fact that it’s an alliance as well. To your point, the people to people ties between us are almost unique and it’s something that we tremendously value in the United States just as I know that you do here,” the US top official said.
“We’re also working together as partners in so many different areas particularly economically, and of course, the alliance is strong and I believe, we will all stronger. We’re committed to the Mutual Defense Treaty. We’re committed to working with you on shared challenges,” he added.
The MDT seeks to maintain the peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region, a vital sea lane for international trade and commerce, which had been threatened by the maritime tensions with China.
Aside from the defense treaty, Blinken expressed confidence in the future of Philippines-US ties under the Marcos administration.
“But I think what’s so striking to me, Mr. President, is that we are working together on bilateral relations between us, we’re working together in the region, and increasingly, we’re working globally because so many of the challenges we face is global in nature,” he said, citing the challenges and threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US state secretary added that both countries “meet in so many other areas.”
“The work we do together matters. It matters to people back home in the United States and I hope you believe what matters to people here in the Philippines. So, I’m grateful for this opportunity to deepen everything what we’ve been doing and we’re grateful to be working with you in your administration,” he furthered.
Marcos and Blinken met in Malacañang with Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, and other US embassy officials.
The two shook hands and exchanged pleasantries and Blinken signed the Palace guest book before the meeting.