President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and US President Joe Biden met and talked for the first time in New York.
Marcos is in the US for a working visit where he attended the United Nations General Assembly.
They discussed freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in the face of China’s desire to control that part of the ocean.
“The leaders discussed the situation in the South China Sea and underscored their support for freedom of navigation and overflight and the peaceful resolution of disputes,” according to the White House statement after the meeting between Marcos and Biden.
Aside from the issue of the South China Sea issue, Biden also wants to discuss COVID-19 and renewable energy with Marcos. The US leader thanked Marcos for his alleged opposition to what Russia is doing in Ukraine.
The United States accuses China of starting trouble against countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea, and other countries that pass through that sea.
“The role of the United States in maintaining the peace in our region is something that is much appreciated by all the countries in the region and the Philippines especially,” said Marcos.
The Philippines is known to be a longtime ally of America.
Marcos, Biden discuss tension in South China Sea
“We feel that we are especially fortunate because we have a very strong foundation of a very long relationship and the strong relationships on various facets not only political, not only diplomatic, but also economic,” according to Marcos.
“We continue to look to the United States for that continuing partnership and the maintenance of peace in our region,” he added.
The White House announced the importance of the alliance between America and the Philippines.
“The leaders reflected on the importance of the US-Philippines alliance. President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines,” according to the White House.
In the said meeting, Marcos thanked Biden for America’s “massive help” to the Philippines in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with vaccines.
“We had the provision of up to 35 — almost 36 million doses of vaccines very early on, ahead of some of the other countries,” said Marcos. “And for that we are very, very grateful.”