PHL, US to convene top Defense, Foreign Affairs officials asap: Immediate implementation of EDCA important

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and United States Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting at the sidelines of the 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meetings in Kuala Lumpur to discuss bilateral and regional issues. The Department of Foreign Affairs said during the meeting of two officials Philippines and US reiterated commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes.

Secretaries del Rosario and Kerry also highlighted the importance of the early implementation of Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which will “underscore the strength and relevance of the treaty alliance.”

The two secretaries also agreed on the need to reconvene the Philippines-Unites States 2 + 2 Ministerial Consultations at the soonest possible time, to move forward a more robust security agenda, DFA said. PHL-US 2+2 meeting will convene Philippine Secretaries of Defense and Foreign Affairs and US Secretaries of State and Defense.

“The Secretaries reaffirmed the commitment of their respective countries to the resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with the rule of law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” DFA said.

They also discussed the progress on the arbitration case filed by the Philippines, and agreed on the need for all claimant states to behave responsibly and avoid further aggressive unilateral action.

“Recognizing the shared regional challenges, they also discussed new areas and initiatives for defense and security cooperation, which in recent years have focused on maritime security and maritime domain awareness,” the department said.