MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and his American counterpart, State Secretary Antony Blinken, are seeking to ramp up the two nations’ bilateral engagement.
In a statement on Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the top diplomats agreed to hold their Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) in November and the 2 Plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue in early 2022.
The BSD is a key mechanism for consultation and exchange of views on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, and discussion on political, security, and economic cooperation between Manila and Washington DC.
The 2 Plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue, on the other hand, involves a joint meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries.
“We want to ramp up our bilateral engagement to ensure that our alliance remains strong and resilient,” Locsin said during his meeting with Blinken at the State Department in Washington DC on Friday.
He underscored the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty, emphasizing the need for the Philippines to enhance its defense capabilities to keep its treaty commitments.
Locsin met Blinken in person for the first time during his working visit to the US on September 10.
Both officials reaffirmed the long-standing alliance and partnership between the Philippines and the United States as the two countries celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the MDT.
Locsin also conveyed President Rodrigo Duterte’s “deep appreciation” for the more than six million vaccines donated by the US government to Manila. (PNA)