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Marcos: Mutual Defense Treaty to be discussed in Biden meeting

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday underscored the need for the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) to "evolve" amid the developing security situations concerning other countries.

Marcos said the MDT and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) will be among the topics that he will tackle with United States President Joe Biden during his official working visit to Washington in May.

"'Yung VFA natin, 'yung Visiting Forces Agreement and the treaty that we have, the Mutual Defense Treaty that we have with the United States, we have to evolve it. It has to evolve dahil nagi-evolve din, kailangan ina-adjust-adjust natin 'yan dahil may nagbabago sa sitwasyon na hinaharap natin dito sa South China Sea, sa Taiwan, sa North Korea, umiinit 'yung sitwasyon dito sa atin," Marcos said in a radio interview with Erwin Tulfo.

(Our VFA and MDT with the United States must evolve because the situations we are facing in the South China Sea, in Taiwan and North Korea also evolves.)

The MDT is a 70-year-old accord between the Philippines and the US. The accord binds Washington DC to defend Manila from any aggression.

The bilateral meeting between Marcos and Biden will be conducted in light of the expansion of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) by adding four more sites as announced by the Philippine government early this month.

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

Aside from the treaties, Marcos will also raise the issue of climate change to Biden.

The White House earlier 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 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. —KBK, GMA Integrated News