By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

BILATERAL MEETING. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (left) engages in a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington DC on Friday (April 12, 2024, Manila time). The two leaders vowed to enhance the economic and security cooperation between Manila and Washington DC. (Photo from the Presidential Communications Office)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and United States President Joe Biden on Friday (Manila time) agreed to further strengthen the economic and security partnerships between Manila and Washington DC.

The commitment was made during the two leaders’ bilateral meeting at the White House before the holding of their historic trilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“Today’s talks with President Biden highlight the strength of the collaboration between the Philippines and the United States, bolstering economic ties and enhancing regional security,” Marcos said in a Facebook post.

During the bilateral meeting, Marcos and Biden also emphasized their joint commitment to promote mutual interests and regional stability, as well as enhance their economic ties in vital sectors, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in another Facebook post.

In a separate statement posted on its official Facebook page, the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) said Marcos also discussed with Biden the progress in the two countries’ bilateral ties.

Marcos likewise cited the enduring commitment from both sides to elevate their security alliance through substantial and sustained investments in defense and coast guard modernization.

Biden assured Marcos that bilateral ties with the Philippines are “an absolute priority of the United States.”

“Both leaders reiterate their commitment in promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and upholding international law, bolster maritime cooperation, enhance energy security, invest in critical infrastructure, expand economic cooperation in semiconductors, clean energy, trade and investment, and deepen people-to-people ties,” the RTVM statement read.

A series of high-level visits by US officials to the Philippines was made in March this year, before Marcos’ bilateral meeting with Biden at the White House.

These include the first US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission led by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and the second visit to Manila of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Marcos is in the US for the first-ever trilateral summit with Biden and Kishida. He is also scheduled to meet with business leaders in Washington DC. (PNA)