16 NOVEMBER 2021
16 NOVEMBER 2021, Washington D.C. – The Philippines and the United States concluded today their 9th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD), capping the two-day meeting with the signing of a Joint Vision Statement that sets out concrete areas of cooperation that will further strengthen the relations.
The Joint Vision Statement for a 21st Century United States-Philippines Partnership may be accessed here.
The Joint Statement was signed by Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez and Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo M. Luna for the Philippine Government, and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely S. Ratner for the U.S. Government, as Co-Chairs of the 9th BSD.
Aside from the Joint Vision Statement, both sides also signed the Strategic Policy Guidance to the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board.
In his remarks at the conclusion of the BSD, Ambassador Romualdez said the two sides met on a hopeful note, armed with the lessons from the past 75 years since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States and 70 years since the signing of our Mutual Defense Treaty, and riding on the wings of the recall of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“The Philippines and the United States must work together to address current realities and challenges. Frank exchanges and regular interactions between both sides must be sustained,” he said.
Ambassador Romualdez further added that an economically prosperous Philippines with a strong, capable military is in the best interest of both nations and will make for an indomitable alliance and partnership.
In his rejoinder, Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink reiterated that the United States continues to uphold its policy on maritime claims in the South China Sea as enunciated by then-State Secretary Pompeo in July 2020. “You have our word and our commitment,” he said, unequivocally affirming the Arbitral Award and the application of the Mutual Defense Treaty on an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea.
The BSD was the culmination of recent high-level exchange of visits, including the visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to the Philippines last July 2021 and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana to Washington D.C. in September 2021. This event comes as a high point during this milestone year for bilateral relations.
The Philippines was represented by a 31-member delegation composed of senior officials and subject-matter experts from the Departments of Agriculture, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice, National Defense, and Trade and Industry, as well as the Office of the President, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.
The BSD is an annual consultation mechanism to discuss the full range of political, security and economic cooperation between the Philippines and the United States. This year’s discussions focused on strengthening cooperation on defense and security, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, human rights, post-pandemic recovery, maritime issues, climate change and clean energy. ###