U.S. Reaffirms Strong Defense Commitment to Philippines

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the Pentagon today with a formal honor cordon. During their meeting, Austin emphasized the steadfast U.S. support for the Philippines, highlighting President Joe Biden’s recent affirmation of this commitment.

Austin reiterated that any attack on Philippine forces or assets in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would trigger the U.S. obligations under the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. He also pointed out the increased operational coordination between the two nations’ forces across various domains.

Austin stressed the importance of such cooperation for regional security and prosperity. He mentioned that the upcoming fiscal year’s budget proposes $128 million for 36 infrastructure projects in the Philippines under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, significantly increasing the U.S. investment in these initiatives.

In addition, President Marcos praised the enhanced bilateral cooperation and the recent U.S.-Philippines-Japan summit at the White House, which he attended with Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The summit concluded with a joint statement emphasizing the collaborative efforts to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and globally.–News Desk