PH, US Defense Secretaries discuss issues of mutual concern

August 9, 2023

Secretary of National Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III held a telephone meeting for the second time this year to reaffirm the two countries’ ironclad defense alliance.

Welcoming the strong statement of support of the US on a recent incident involving the harassment and disruption of Philippine vessels conducting a resupply mission in the Second Thomas Shoal, Secretary Teodoro firmly restated that no country has the right to question the Philippines’ capability build-up to address its immediate and evolving security concerns.

On defense relations, Secretary Austin reaffirmed the US’ commitment to provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) support. Moving forward, both officials pledged to fast-track pending defense initiatives, such as the conclusion of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites. Moreover, Secretary Austin highlighted the importance of GSOMIA for the transfer of technology in support of the modernization program of the AFP.

Secretary Teodoro also took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the relief efforts and airlift assistance extended by the US in the wake of Typhoon Egay. He emphasized that these synergistic efforts are a hallmark of the enduring alliance between the Philippines and the US. Secretary Austin expressed condolences for the damages and casualties of Typhoon Egay. The two Secretaries explored ways to enhance cooperation in the field of HADR, particularly through EDCA Agreed Locations.

Furthermore, Secretary Teodoro commended the US’ unwavering support in preserving the rules-based international order. The meeting concluded with the two defense officials committing to uphold the maintenance of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

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