MANILA, Feb 19 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines supports the elevation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) ties with the United States and India to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Thursday.

“The Philippines advocates and supports the granting of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to the United States for the most realistic and pragmatic of reasons: it remains, and in our view it will stay, the world’s leading force for the rule of law in international relations,” he said during the Asean Ministers’ Retreat in Cambodia.

“The first great power in history to be satisfied with international rules that all other countries and even competing powers can live by and work with to their benefit,” he added.

Locsin said he also looks forward to the convening of the proposed Asean-US Summit this year.

The Philippines’ endorsement for an Asean-India comprehensive strategic partnership, on the other hand, came days after Indian Minister for External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited the country to reaffirm India’s strong bilateral relations with the Philippines.

“The Philippines extends all-out support to Singapore’s proposal to elevate the status of India to comprehensive and strategic partnership,” Locsin said.

Last February 14, Locsin said Asean and India could further enhance maritime cooperation. (MNS)

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