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11/09/2013: Cuisia: US Pivot Crucial to Stability of Asia-Pacific

11 September 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines welcomes the increased attention the United States is placing on the Asia-Pacific as this is crucial in ensuring the growth and stability of the region, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said.

“As a treaty ally, the Philippines recognizes and accepts our important role in the rebalance to Asia,” Ambassador Cuisia said as Manila and Washington prepare for the third round of negotiations on a framework agreement that would allow the increased rotational presence of US military forces and assets in the Philippines

“We welcome the US rebalancing to the region as a clear recognition of the importance of ensuring the stability and growth of the Asia Pacific region,” the Filipino envoy told the Ambassador’s Forum at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a Washington-based think-tank.

“We view the rebalance as more than a policy decision, but a strategic imperative, as the Asia-Pacific region has become the nexus of the world’s most dynamic of opportunities, and the most intransigent of challenges,” he said two days before Filipino and American negotiators enter the third round of negotiations at the Pentagon.

The negotiations are for a framework agreement that would make possible a more robust military-to-military engagement between the two treaty allies that would cover arrangements for the temporary stationing of US troops and assets in Philippine military facilities.

“We are working closely with the United States on mechanisms that will ensure that our security arrangements remain relevant and mutually beneficial,” Ambassador Cuisia said, adding that this complements initiatives being undertaken by the Aquino Government to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines and attain a minimum credible defensive posture.

“We have also agreed to work more closely together to enhance the economic dimension of the US rebalancing as well as new areas that require stronger international responses, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities, transnational crimes, and combating pandemic diseases,” he added.

Ambassador Cuisia noted that the increased cooperation between the Philippines and Asia has been engendered by the economic dynamism of the Asian Pacific, which has also resulted in the increased economic interaction between the US and Asia.

In the case of ASEAN, Ambassador Cuisia said the value of US exports to the 10 member-countries is about the same as those to China and four times the value of US exports to India. US direct investment in the region was $99 billion in 2006, fourfold that of China and tenfold that of India, and has gone up to $159 billion in 2011. ###