Philippines, US hold strategic dialogue hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source:
Washington (VNA) – The Philippines and the US held the sixth bilateral strategic dialogue in Washington DC on March 17 and 18 to reinforce and enhance the alliance across a broad range of shared interests and priorities.

According to the US Department of State, the dialogue was chaired by Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel and Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear for the US, and Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia and Undersecretary of National Defense Pio Lorenzo F. Batino for the Philippines.

In a joint statement issued after the dialogue, the two sides confirmed their commitments to strengthening the alliance between Washington and Manila, ensuring mutual defence and security, and contributing to regional peace, stability and economic prosperity.

Both countries reaffirmed their commitments to obeying the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the 2011 Manila Declaration and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

They pledged to coordinate in the fight against terrorism, ensuring cyber security, coping with natural disasters, and sharing information on other nontraditional challenges.

The two sides discussed proposals to support the US’s efforts to help modernise the Philippines’ Armed Forces, and develop capabilities to guarantee navigation security and humanitarian assistance.

The Philippines welcomed the US Department of Defence’s proposal to the US Congress to allocate a significant amount of its budget in fiscal 2016 to the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative to support the Philippines’ maritime security projects.

Both sides reiterated their commitments to peace, security and stability in the region, as well as freedom of navigation and lawful uses of waters as guaranteed under international law.

They strongly opposed to the militarisation of outposts in the East Sea, sharing the view that the installation of new military assets there will escalate tensions in the region.

Officials discussed measures to deal with the increasing militarisation and unilateral acts in the East Sea, stressing that the involved parties should clarify maritime claims in the East Sea in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and resolve any disputes peacefully.-VNA