Metro Manila – On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call to reiterate the strong bilateral relations between Manila and Washington. This conversation came just a week after the Filipino diplomat engaged in a “frank and candid exchange” with his Chinese counterpart.
During the call, Manalo emphasized the Philippines’ dedication to protecting its sovereignty and jurisdiction, as well as promoting peace, security, and the rules-based international order. He highlighted the importance of maintaining open lines of communication and dialogue with other parties.
In a statement by US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, it was mentioned that Blinken and Manalo discussed ways to enhance Philippine-US cooperation in 2024. Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s unwavering commitment to Manila under their Mutual Defense Treaty, which requires both countries to provide assistance in the event of an armed attack by a foreign power.
This conversation took place shortly after Manalo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had their own phone call following China’s recent incursions and harassment in the West Philippine Sea. These actions included using water cannons against Filipino vessels, engaging in dangerous maneuvers that endangered the lives of local crewmen, and deploying a long-range acoustic device or sound cannon.
Both diplomats acknowledged the significance of dialogue in addressing the issues between their countries. However, Wang advised the Philippines to exercise caution, as he believed that bilateral ties were at a critical point due to a shift in Manila’s policy and position.Chinese foreign affairs officials agree on the need for “dialogue” to address issues.