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Marcos, Biden to have bilateral talks next month

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will have a bilateral meeting with United States President Joe Biden at the White House next month.

This was announced by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday, April 20, noting that the two leaders will strengthen the longstanding relations of their countries.

"On May 1, President Joe Biden will host Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for a bilateral meeting at the White House," Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

"During the visit, President Biden will reaffirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines, and the leaders will discuss efforts to strengthen the longstanding US-Philippines alliance," she added.

The White House said Biden and Marcos would tackle regional matters and coordinate on efforts that will uphold international law and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The bilateral meeting will be conducted after the additional Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites were announced by the Philippine government early this month.

It will be held as the tension between the US and China escalates due to the issue in Taiwan. China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory.

The leaders will also review opportunities "to deepen economic cooperation and promote inclusive prosperity, expand our nations’ special people-to-people ties, invest in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change, and ensure respect for human rights," according to the White House.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Marcos' meeting with Biden will be followed by an expanded meeting with key Cabinet officials.

"The visit will reaffirm the bonds of friendship that give definition and significance to the many facets of the bilateral relationship, underpinned by the close affinity shared by Filipinos and Americans alike for many years," the PCO said in a separate statement.

"It will substantively progress efforts to further deepen relations and political ties, to bring about lasting socio-economic partnerships, as well as to enhance defense and security cooperation," it added.

During the visit, Marcos is expected to advance the Philippines’ socio-economic and development priorities and harness closer partnership in such areas as agriculture, energy, climate change, digital transformation and technology, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supply chains, and infrastructure.

The PCO noted that the US is a major bilateral trade and official development assistance partner, and "maintains a shared commitment with the Philippines for more dynamic economic relations."

Marcos and Biden met during the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September of last year.—AOL/RSJ, GMA Integrated News