Marcos back in PH from trilateral meeting with US, Japan

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (Photo from Presidential Communications Office)

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is back in the country from a two-day trilateral meeting with United States President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, D.C.

The chief executive’s plane landed in Manila at 3:03 a.m. on Sunday, April 14, 2024.

In his arrival speech, Marcos expressed gratitude to Biden and Kishida for declaring their support for the infrastructure development and connectivity in the country through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI), the Philippines’ implementation of the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN), workforce development for the semiconductor industry, capacity-building in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and its membership in the Minerals Security Partnership Forum.

Marcos told the Philippine media delegation that the Philippines-U.S.-Japan trilateral summit shows the “continuing evolution” of relationship between the three countries, downplaying speculations that it was anchored on a “new situation” in the Indo-Pacific region particularly in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“Now, I think it is important for me to make clear that this, the trilateral agreement, is not something that is only about convenience, or because there is a new situation, I really view it as a continuing evolution of our relationship with both countries, with the U.S. and Japan,” the President said.

“And, this is evidenced by the fact that a large part of the agreement is on economic proposals, and economic assistance and partnership between the three countries. Security and defense, of course, are there. But that is not the main point of the trilateral agreement,” he added.

The Philippine, U.S. and Japan all shared a firm commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region that is connected, prosperous, secure, inclusive and resilient.

They expressed their pursuit of economic projects that advances their shared objectives especially in promoting broad-based and sustainable economic-growth and investing in resilient, reliable and diversified supply chains.

In a joint statement, the United States and Japan have expressed their serious concerns regarding the situation in the South China Sea as well as in the East China Sea, in particular the repeated attempts by the Chinese against Philippine vessels in supplying their troops in the Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin Shoal.

“We steadfastly oppose the dangerous and coercive use of Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea, as well as efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation,” the leaders of the Philippines, U.S., and Japan said in a Joint Vision Statement released on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

“We reiterate serious concern over the PRC’s repeated obstruction of Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and the disruption of supply lines to Second Thomas Shoal, which constitute dangerous and destabilizing conduct,” it further stated.

They all urged China to abide by the 2016 Arbitral ruling that determined that the feature lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Marcos expressed belief that through the “extremely important” trilateral meeting for the Philippines, the U.S. and Japan is “going to change the dynamics” in the Indo-Pacific region, in the ASEAN, and around the South China Sea “for the better.”

“We’ll start to see, we can actually, not even years, within the year, we will start to begin, to see the wisdom of having that trilateral agreement and why it is a good thing to enter into,” he said.

Aside from maritime security and defense, the three leaders also discussed agenda on economic security and development and humanitarian assistance.

In terms of investments from American and Japanese firms, Marcos said it may materialize in the next five years from his trilateral meeting with Biden and Kishida.

Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry said a total of $14.2 billion worth of investments covering 46 projects have materialized from Marcos’ foreign trips.

The agency said 21 projects that have already materialized were from Japan while 13 from the United States.

It covers various sectors, such as manufacturing, IT-BPM, renewable energy, infrastructure, transport and logistics, agriculture, and retail.

As the country forged closer security and economic integration with the US and Japan, Marcos appealed to the U.S. Congress to fast track the reauthorization of the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program for the benefit of the Philippines.

The GSP, which was established by the Trade Act of 1974, is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program, promoting economic development by eliminating duties on thousands of products when imported from one of 119 designated beneficiary countries and territories.

Marcos noted that the Philippines is the US’ 8th largest market for its agricultural exports and the top market in Southeast Asia.

He said there is a demand from both the US and the Philippine private sector for engagement in a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

“The benefits for concluding an FTA together with a Critical Minerals Agreement between both our countries will be transformative and will create new jobs, strengthen supply chains, establish new businesses, and upskill our workforce,” Marcos said. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.