President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden have met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
According to a tweet by GMA News' Ivan Mayrina, a senior White House official said that the two leaders were expected to discuss the state of the global economy and how it is impacting the Philippines; the South China Sea; the security relationship between the US and the Philippines; and "the full breadth of issues in the alliance."
"The 100-plus-year-old relationship between the Philippines and the US continues to evolve as we face the challenges of this new century... maintaining peace despite all the complexities that have arisen in the past few months," Marcos said.
"So thank you again, Mr. President, for making time to see us," he added.
"We are your partners, we are your allies, we are your friends. And in like fashion, we have always considered the United States our partner, our ally and our friend," Marcos said.
Statement from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr during his bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden:— ivan mayrina (@ivanmayrina) September 22, 2022
"The 100-plus-year-old relationship between the Philippines and the US continues to evolve as we face the challenges of this new century and the events that we have been
that our two countries will play together and individually as we continue down that road --- maintaining peace despite all the complexities that have arisen in the past few months I supposed.— ivan mayrina (@ivanmayrina) September 22, 2022
So thank you again, Mr. President, for making time to see us.
We are your partners, we are your allies, we are your friends. And in like fashion, we have always considered the United States our partner, our ally and our friend. @gmanews— ivan mayrina (@ivanmayrina) September 22, 2022
A Reuters report quoted Biden as saying, as the two men began their talks, that he wanted to talk about the South China Sea, where China is exerting its influence, as well as COVID-19 and renewable energy. He thanked Marcos for opposing Russia's war in Ukraine.
On the issue of Ukraine and Russia, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in a press conference after the bilateral meeting, reiterated that Marcos will continue the foreign policy that was implemented by his predecessor.
"We simply continue the policy of the previous administration...The President will not veer from the 'friend to all, enemy to none' general foreign policy," she said.
"However, they do recognize inherent injustices and this forms part of that foreign policy. Beyond that, there are no other specifics," she added.
Marcos, meanwhile, said that the US' role in maintaining peace in the region "is something that is much appreciated by all the countries in the region and the Philippines especially."
The Philippines is a key ally of the United States and vital strategically in case of any US need to defend Taiwan militarily from Chinese attack, given its geographical position.
Manila's ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez told Japan's Nikkei newspaper this month the Philippines would let US forces use its military bases in the event of a Taiwan conflict only "if it is important for us, for our own security."
Gregory Poling, a Southeast Asia expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think thank, said the meeting with Biden was a sign that the Biden administration was serious about deepening the long-standing US alliance with the Philippines.
"I understand a lot of requests had been made to the US President, that it is significant that he spoke only with President Marcos on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly," Cruz-Angeles said.
According to the official website of the White House, Biden also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and United Kingdom Prime Minister Liz Truss.
In a Viber message to GMA News Online, Cruz-Angeles said Biden's meetings with other heads of states had long been scheduled.
"Ang ibang mga meeting ni Pangulong Biden ay mga dati nang napagkasunduan, pero na postpone at itinuloy na lamang sa pagkakataon na ito," Cruz-Angeles said.
"Tanging ang request na makipagpulong ni Pangulong Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. kay US President Joe Biden ang napaunlakan sa sidelines ng United Nations General Assembly," she added.
"Marami pong ibang nakiusap nguni’t ang napagbigyan lamang ay ang kahilingan ng bansang Pilipinas. Kung kaya’t kita ang kahalagahan ng miting na ito ng dalawang lider," Cruz-Angeles said.
Marcos also had a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, with whom he discussed strengthening cooperation in priority areas for his administration such as agriculture, energy, health and infrastructure.
Japanese Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Hikariko Ono said that Kishida also mentioned in the meeting that “the international community needs to oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Sea, as well as economic coercion.” —with reports from Reuters and Hana Bordey/NB/BM/RSJ, GMA News