THE bilateral relationship between the Philippines and the United States “remains robust and very active,” according to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Acting DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo made the affirmation during a televised forum this week regarding the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
“Our relationship with the U.S. remains very robust and active,” Manalo told reporters on Tuesday, April 4.
Noting that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has spoken with U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year, Manalo said that Manila is considering opportunities “to increase the number of discussions” with Washington.
“We are in touch with the United States in various levels. I think the opportunity for us here is to increase the discussion with US officials,” Manalo remarked. “The key is managing tensions while improving relations. Our goal is to make our region prosperous.”
According to him, the ASEAN ministers are also looking forward to have a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“ASEAN Ministers are hoping to have a meeting with Secretary Tillerson. It’s only a matter of scheduling problems,” Manalo said.
He went on to say, “I think the State Department is still in the process of reorganizing and I think we also have to give them some time but in the meantime we are, as much as possible trying to maintain contacts.”
With the Philippines as its chair, the upcoming 30th ASEAN summit will be held from April 26 to 29 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City.
Manalo said that the Philippine government is “trying to maintain contact with the view of enhancing our bilateral cooperation with the United States” and also “at the regional level in the ASEAN context.”
“The U.S. should continue to be positively engaged in the (Southeast Asian) region,” Manalo added. “We hope U.S. would promote greater security cooperation.” (AJPress)