(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Dec 13 (Mabuhay) –The Philippines and the US affirmed its long-standing alliance and are eyeing high-level meetings in the first half of 2022, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

The DFA, in a statement, said this happened during the meeting last December 11 between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland at the sidelines of the G7 Ministerial Meetings in Liverpool, United Kingdom held last December 10 to 12.

“I was very pleased with their firm assurances that the United States continues to regard the Philippines as a crucial ally in the region, and that it stands ready to support the Philippines, including against armed attacks on our armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific,” Locsin said.

Nuland, for her part, said, “We are proud to stand with you and we are very proud to see how you stood for international law.”

Likewise, the two officials discussed the next steps for strengthening the alliance between the two countries, as well as cooperation within the context of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the United Nations (UN) to address current and emerging challenges.

“Secretary Locsin and Undersecretary Nuland touched on preparations for the Special U.S.-ASEAN Summit that the U.S. is proposing to host in January. They also discussed arrangements for other high-level visits and meetings expected to take place in the first half of 2022, including the Two-Plus-Two Ministerial Dialogue that was previously agreed upon by the respective Defense and Foreign Secretaries,” the DFA added.

Locsin also congratulated the US for its successful virtual hosting of the Summit for Democracy last week wherein President Rodrigo Duterte was one of the participants.

During the summit, Duterte and US President Joe Biden underscored the countries’ shared commitment to the protection and promotion of democratic ideals and principles and to continuing work to ensure that they benefit the people, especially the poor and marginalized.

Locsin then invited the US to support the UN Joint Program on Human Rights, noting that its contribution would be “an expression of your support to a long-standing ally and to our shared commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”

The DFA secretary also thanked the US for the close to 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines that it has so far donated to the Philippines through the COVAX global aid facility.

Locsin then sought the US’ continued support for the Philippines in administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

The Philippines and the US celebrated the 75th anniversary of their bilateral relations this year and the 70th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two parties. (MNS)

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