Washington DC, 12 April 2023 (TDI): The United States (US) and the Philippines have strengthened their alliance to advance their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region and a rules-based international order.

The third US-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue was held in Washington DC and co-chaired by:

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of State Antony Blinken from the US
  • Secretary of National Defense Carlito Galvez, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo from the Philippines

The four leaders discussed new and deeper cooperation across all areas of the US-Philippines alliance, emphasizing their unwavering commitment to their alliance commitments under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

This treaty commits both countries to defend against external armed attack in the Pacific, including the South China Sea.

The Secretaries also committed to expeditiously conclude the US-Philippines Bilateral Defense Guidelines, which will lay out the vision for alliance cooperation across all operational domains, including space and cyberspace.

During the dialogue, the leaders discussed plans to operationalize the four new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites at Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan.

These new sites, along with the five existing EDCA locations, will allow both countries to swiftly respond to a range of shared challenges, including natural disasters, in the Philippines and across the Indo-Pacific region.

Moreover, Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary Galvez noted recent concerning operational behavior and gray-zone activities in the South China Sea and committed to regularizing combined maritime activities in the region.

The two leaders discussed opportunities to conduct a joint US-Philippines sail in the South China Sea during Exercise BALIKATAN, which commenced on 11 April and is the largest and most complex iteration of the exercise to date, featuring more than 17,000 participating troops.

Furthermore, the leaders also discussed ways to coordinate more closely with like-minded nations, including Australia and Japan, to strengthen shared principles of the rule of law, freedom of the seas, and respect for territorial sovereignty.

Also Read: US, Philippines accelerate implementation of Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement

Thus, the US-Philippines alliance stands ready to bring greater security, prosperity, and stability to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Also, Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the US Department’s commitment to bolstering the Philippines’ defense capabilities and capacity to resist coercion as the allies develop a Security Sector Assistance Roadmap.

In a nutshell, Today’s 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue demonstrated the enduring commitment of the US and the Philippines to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as allies.

The US is proud to partner with the Philippines in advancing its shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region and a rules-based international order.