President’s Hall, Malacañan Palace
February 2, 2023

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III of the United States of America who is visiting the Philippines for the second time.

“I thank you for finding the time to come and be with us and perhaps exchange some ideas and thoughts and comments and information on the current situation, geopolitically and of course, more specifically here in the Asia-Pacific region,” the President stated in his remarks during the US Defense Secretary’s courtesy call in Malacañan Palace.

He reaffirmed the great importance that the Philippines places on its relationship with the USA, its longest partner and ally.

“And again I have always said, that it seems to me that the future of the Philippines and for that matter the Asia-Pacific, will always have to involve the United States simply because those partnerships are so strong, and so historically embedded in our common psyches that it can only be an advantage to both our countries,” he added.

For his part, Secretary Lloyd Austin III echoed the message of President Marcos Jr. on the robust partnership between the two countries.

“We do have a strong relationship and my goal, certainly President [Joseph] Biden’s goal is to strengthen that relationship in every way possible. You are a key ally and an important ally. And so from the defense perspective, we will continue to work together with our great partners to build and modernize your capabilities, as well as increase our interoperability. So we are very, very happy to be here once again and I look forward to a great discussion, Mr. President. Again, thanks for being such a great host,” Secretary Austin III emphasized in his remarks.

The US Defense Secretary arrived in the Philippines on 31 January 2023. His visit aims to further strengthen defense partnership and advance regional stability.

* * *