Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Call With Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

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Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout: 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr. spoke by phone today. 

Secretary Austin reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to the Philippines following the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia’s dangerous obstruction of a lawful Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal on March 23. He emphasized U.S. support for the Philippines in defending its sovereign rights  and jurisdiction, and reiterated that the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to both countries’armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft—including those of its Coast Guard—anywhere in the Pacific, to include the South China Sea.

The two officials discussed the importance of preserving the rights of all nations to fly, sail, and operate safely and responsibly wherever international law allows. They highlighted that the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Ruling is final and binding on the Parties and called on the PRC to abide by its obligations under international law. 

The officials discussed historic momentum in U.S.-Philippine defense ties and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Philippine alliance, which has upheld peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region for over seventy years. They agreed to bolster bilateral and multilateral cooperation with like-minded partners in the South China Sea and committed to accelerate a number of bilateral initiatives to enhance information-sharing, interoperability, and capability enhancements for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They also underscored both countries’ shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific grounded in transparency, the rule of law, respect for sovereignty, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. 

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