Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday handed over the diplomatic note recalling the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III.
In a statement following their meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Locsin said the US has shown its commitment to fulfilling its obligations to Manila under its alliance.
“They have addressed issues arising from our security relationship with good faith. Together, we have moved forward on the basis of common interest, shared values, and mutual respect,” he said.
“As such, upon the instructions of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, today I handed over to United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III the diplomatic note recalling the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement.”
Duterte made the decision on July 29 after he met with Austin and relayed the move to both Locsin and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.
The VFA, established in 1999, provides a framework for defense forces cooperation that allows joint exercises between the Philippines and the US.
Its restoration also coincides with the celebration of the two nations’ 75 years of diplomatic relations, as well as 70 years of Washington DC being Manila’s only defense treaty ally.
Locsin noted that the alliance between the two nations has stayed “strong and overcome challenges” and remains “vital to maintaining stability” in the Asia-Pacific region.
“All the protagonists in the region, without a single exception, see a strong US presence as imperative to peace and stability in Southeast Asia. They are the precondition for mutually beneficial cooperation rather than destructive conflict among themselves,” he said. (PNA)
Photo Credit: DFA Official Website