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21/06/2011: Senator McCain Invites PH Secretary Del Rosario to Dialogue on PH-US Relations

Shown in the photo above are, from left to right, Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Senator John McCain and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario

21 JUNE 2011, WASHINGTON DC. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario met today with Senator John McCain, a senior Republican Senator from Arizona and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary del Rosario expressed agreement on Senator McCain’s call for the United States to step up efforts in supporting Southeast Asian countries on the issue of sovereignty in the South China Sea. At a dinner yesterday, June 20, sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Senator McCain said that the United States should assist the Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in developing and deploying an early warning system and coastal vessels in the areas being disputed. He also emphasized the importance of diplomacy and a unified effort in helping ASEAN address differences with China. They both agreed that a multilateral approach is vital in resolving differences among the claimant nations. They also supported a rules-based regime and a binding agreement to preserve the peace in the region. Senator McCain added that the best way to prevent conflict is to build capabilities and undertake joint operations.

Senator McCain also reiterated the United States government’s support for the Philippines which he considers the first democracy in Asia and a close treaty ally of the United States. Secretary del Rosario also highlighted the importance of trade cooperation between the two countries. After a discussion on the SAVE Act bill, Senator McCain expressed his readiness to be a co-sponsor. SAVE Act will allow the entry to the U.S. duty-free of Philippine apparel exports made of U.S.-made fabrics and reduced tariffs on those that use U.S.-made yarns. The SAVE Act would represent the first major trade initiative between the two countries in nearly forty years. END