12 May 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. underscored the United States’ role as “our most vocal partner” in reaffirming the 2016 Arbitral Award and upholding a rules-based international order.
“We deeply appreciate that. We most certainly welcome the U.S. Senate’s call for a common ASEAN approach to reaffirm the Award,” he said in a meeting with key members of the U.S. Congress at the two-day ASEAN-US Special Summit.
Secretary Locsin leads the Philippine delegation to the Special Summit, as a representative of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who skipped the Summit as a courtesy to the Philippine President-elect.
He was joined by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Theresa Lazaro, Assistant Secretary Ed Espiritu, Assistant Secretary Maria Angela Ponce, as well as officials from the Office of the President and the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.
Secretary Locsin also welcomed the U.S. Senate’s support for ASEAN’s efforts to address maritime and territorial disputes where possible through peaceful, diplomatic and dispute resolution mechanisms consistent with international law.
He thanked the U.S. Senate for Senate Resolution 616, expressing support for ASEAN and the ASEAN-U.S. Special Summit, and reaffirming the US commitment to stay a strong, reliable, and active partner in the ASEAN region, saying “that commitment is much needed now.”
Meanwhile, Secretary Locsin stressed the Philippines’ firm position as regards the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“There are many ways to govern a country, but only one way to treat people. It is the lack of decency on the attack on Ukraine why we voted yes to the UN General Assembly resolution and expressed explicit condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine. And we are one with ASEAN in the three statements it issued expressing grave concern over the hostilities, calling for a ceasefire, and on the killing of civilians,” he said.
Also present in the luncheon meeting were: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-23rd District-CA), House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-41st District-CA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-5th District-NY), Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), SFRC Ranking Member James Risch (R-ID) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).