Duterte extends ‘warmest greetings’ to new leadership
THE relations between the Philippines and the United States will continue to run smoothly under the administration of newly sworn-in President Joe Biden, the Philippine Ambassador to Washington D.C. Jose Manuel Romualdez affirmed Thursday, January 21.
“We’re confident that this relationship is going to continue and we’ve had a good start,” he told the CNN Philippines’ New Day.
Romualdez also assured that the Biden administration will still recognize the Philippines’ arbitral victory in the South China Sea.
“First and foremost is the policy on the West Philippine Sea for instance. The policy shifted during the time of President (Donald) Trump, they recognized our arbitral award, [and it] will be continued by the Biden administration,” he said.
In July 2020, the U.S. announced that it was rejecting most of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.
“We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” he added.
In another interview, Romualdez reiterated that the U.S. will continue to recognize the arbitral award.
“(U.S. State Secretary-designate Antony Blinken) said that their policy on China will be more or less the same as what the Trump administration had but the approach will be different, there would be cooperation in many other areas but in terms of, for instance, South China Sea they recognize… The U.S. recognizes the arbitral award so they will continue with that policy,” the envoy said in a mix of Filipino and English during an interview over GMA.
“All of that is the overall picture of what the Biden administration will be doing in our part of the world,” he added.
Romualdez, in his CNN interview, revealed that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sent Biden a congratulatory letter about a week prior to his inauguration.
“Actually, about a week or less than a week after President Biden was elected, President Duterte has already sent a congratulatory letter in which he says he’s looking forward to continuing the relationship between the Philippines and the United States,” he said.
On Thursday, Malacañang said that Duterte has extended his greetings to Biden and the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris following their inauguration.
“Our President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte sends his warmest greetings and the best wishes to the 46th President of the United States Joseph ‘Joe’ Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a briefing.
Biden on Wednesday, January 20, became the 46th U.S. president, while Harris was sworn in as the country’s first female, Black and South Asian American vice president.
The inauguration of Biden and Harris showed the world that the U.S. has “deep” roots in democracy, Roque affirmed.
“It has always been an exemplar to the world. And today, it has reassured the world that its people remain committed to peaceful electoral transitions and the noble principles of representative democracy,” he added.