Philippine President Marcos Jr. vows to strengthen ties with US

Baku, August 7, AZERTAC

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has stressed the importance of strengthening ties with the US in his first meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to NHK World-Japan.

The two held talks in Manila on Saturday.

At the beginning of the meeting, Blinken noted the bilateral relationship is "quite extraordinary," saying that "it's strengthened by the fact that it's an alliance." He added he believes the alliance can grow even stronger.

He said the US is committed to working with the Philippines on shared challenges.

Marcos said the international diplomatic scene is volatile, referring to the situation in Ukraine and tensions over Taiwan.

He said he hopes his country and the US will continue to evolve their relationship "in the face of all the changes that we have been seeing."

Observers say Marcos' emphasis on improving ties with the US represents a shift from the policy of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. The former president once considered ending a troop deployment agreement with the US.

The Philippine foreign ministry announced later on Saturday that the two countries will hold a "two-plus-two" meeting of foreign and defense ministers early next year.

The ministry also said that officials are working to arrange a meeting between Marcos and US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.

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