By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Philippines and the United States on Thursday discussed important opportunities for strengthened cooperation next year, building on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s official working visit to Washington, D.C. last May.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Secretary Enrique Manalo spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken via a phone call, acknowledging the alliance and bilateral relations between the two countries.

Manalo and Blinken talked about issues of mutual concern, including the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea.

“Manalo reaffirmed the Philippines’ abiding interest to protect its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, while maintaining peace and security and upholding the rules-based international order,” the DFA said.

It added that Manalo emphasized the importance of dialogue and maintaining open lines of communication with other parties in pursuit of these objectives.

Meanwhile, Blinken underscored the US’ ironclad commitments to the Philippines “under our Mutual Defense Treaty.” (PNA)