Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Philippines Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon today to discuss ways to continue to deepen cooperation under the U.S.-Philippines alliance.
The Secretaries affirmed the enduring nature of the alliance, as well as the vital importance of ensuring peace and stability in the South China Sea. Secretary Austin reiterated that the U.S. commitment to Philippine security is ironclad, and that U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty commitments extend to Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft in the South China Sea. The Secretaries expressed appreciation for close collaboration on a number of bilateral defense initiatives outlined in the November 2021 U.S. – Philippines Joint Vision Statement, which have strengthened the credibility of the alliance and increased military coordination.
The Secretaries agreed to advance the defense partnership by strengthening Mutual Defense Treaty commitments through the development of bilateral defense guidelines; enhancing maritime coordination and cooperation through the completion of a bilateral maritime framework; and improving interoperability and information sharing by exercising new capabilities. The Secretaries also discussed the importance of acting in unison to condemn Russian aggression and acting in solidarity with Ukraine.
The Secretaries closed the meeting by reiterating their commitment to supporting the security, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific, and to ensuring the alliance remains capable and is based on shared interests and values.