20 January 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.– “I can proudly say that Filipino-Americans – estimated at 4.3 million – are well appreciated all over the United States and in the communities where they live and work. The deep people-to-people ties that have grown stronger over the years make the relationship between the United States and the Philippines truly special,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said in his opening statement at the presentation, “Philippines-US Relations in a Changing Indo-Pacific” organized by and held at the Institute of World Politics (IWP) on 16 January 2020.
“Now we are facing a time in the 21stcentury wherein the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific are in rapid flux, and so we’re here to hear about the changing environment and the bilateral relationship,” said IWP’s Research Professor Paul Coyer in introducing the Ambassador.
Speaking on the state of Philippines-United States alliance, the Ambassador emphasized that “While we continue to work towards nurturing and strengthening our long-standing partnerships with traditional allies led by the United States, the Philippines also manages friendships with other countries in order for us to be able to fully explore our potential for economic development and uphold our national interest.”
He further outlined the extensive PH-US collaborative work, including at the military front as evidence by the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), counterterrorism, law enforcement, and human trafficking.
“In this environment of heightened competition between the US and China, we need to recognize the inherent value of ASEAN centrality in our region’s affairs, which can build confidence, deepen integration, and foster unity among ourselves and hopefully among our dialogue partners as well – the US and China included,” the Ambassador likewise highlighted the role of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region and the Philippine position in the South China Sea that is “in accordance with international law.”
Ambassador Romualdez also underscored PH-US shared history and economic cooperation, with the United States being the 3rdmajor trading partner of the Philippines. He likewise implored all countries “to respect our laws and our processes just as we are expected to respect theirs.”
“The Philippines and the United States are long-time friends and allies, and the Philippines comes into this friendship as an independent and sovereign state that stands in parity with all other states,” he said.
The Ambassador fielded various questions from the audience touching on the South China Sea, Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship, and the upcoming US-ASEAN meeting, among others. The presentation was live streamed via IWP’s Facebook page.
The Institute of World Politics is an independent graduate school that supplies professional education in statecraft, national security, and international affairs. ###