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02/04/2013: Secretary Del Rosario and Secretary Kerry: Common History, Shared Values Firm Basis to Forge Stronger and Deeper Ties

2 April 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (2 April 2013) –Underscoring the unique common history and shared values between the Philippines and the United States, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario and Secretary of State John F. Kerry today agreed to continue forging stronger and deeper relations between Manila and Washington.

“We agreed that as strategic partners, it is important for both our nations to further deepen our relations on all levels.  We agreed that our long shared history and profound common values serve as a firm basis for this,” Secretary Del Rosario said after his meeting with his American counterpart at the Department of State here this morning.

With Secretary Del Rosario during his first meeting with his American counterpart were Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos D. Sorreta; Deputy Chief of Mission Maria Andrelita S. Austria; and Executive Director Rosalita S. Prospero of the Office of American Affairs.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said both officials acknowledged that there are current challenges to the peace and stability of East Asia and that it was in the common interest of both countries to work together to prevent conflict and resolve matters peacefully and in accordance with international law.

“Our ability to deter threats or provocation is an important part of this cooperation.  In this context, we discussed our joint efforts to build the capacity of the Philippines to defend its territory and people. We also exchanged views on the implementation of our agreed policy of increased rotational presence and enhanced exercises,” Secretary Del Rosario stated.

“We also reiterated our agreement that our defense and security cooperation extends to facing other threats in the region, including natural disasters.  We will continue to cooperate in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” the Secretary emphasized.

On regional cooperation, both officials agreed to work together to build stronger ASEAN-US relations. “We agreed on the importance of working together in ASEAN to promote our mutual interests as well as regional cooperation,” the Secretary said.

On the West Philippine Sea issue, Secretary Kerry gave his support for the efforts of the Philippines to resolve the conflicting claims through the rule of law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said the Philippine move to bring the West Philippine Sea issue to arbitration has the full support of the US.

During the meeting, Secretary Kerry emphasized his personal closeness to the Philippines and his determination to further enhance bilateral relations. “Secretary Kerry was part of the election monitoring team headed by Senator Richard Lugar in 1986.  Since then he has always had a keen interest in our country and our democracy,” the Secretary said. END