Austin Emphasizes US Commitment To Defend Philippines


By David Vergun

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Friday hosted an enhanced honor cordon and meeting to welcome Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the Pentagon.

Austin underscored the U.S. commitment to the defense of the Philippines is ironclad, referencing President Joe Biden’s remarks at the White House yesterday. 

An attack on Philippine armed forces, vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would invoke the U.S. commitment under the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, Austin said. 

The forces of both nations have extended their operational coordination on land, at sea and in the air, the secretary noted.

“This level of cooperation is critical to our collective security and to peace and prosperity across the region,” he said. 

Austin noted that the president’s fiscal year 2025 budget request seeks $128 million to fund 36 infrastructure projects on Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites in the Philippines, more than double the amount the U.S. has already invested in at those sites.

Marcos said that the Philippines has always been able to look to United States for support, and he said increased cooperation between the two governments and militaries should continue. 

The Philippine president praised the first U.S.-Philippines-Japan leaders’ summit that took place yesterday at the White House. There Biden met with Marcos, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. 

The leaders of the three countries issued a joint vision statement at the summit. “We believe, fundamentally, that by working together, we can advance the security and prosperity of our own nations, the Indo-Pacific region, and the world,” according to that statement.

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DoD News publishes news from the US Defense Department.

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