Defense

May 1, 2012

U.S., Philippines hold historic bilateral meeting

Tags:
by Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
DOD photograph by Glenn Fawcett
U.S. Defense Leon E. Panetta, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meet with Filipino Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Filipino Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at the State Department in Washington, D.C., April 30, 2012.

U.S. and Philippine defense and foreign affairs leaders held the nations’ first “two-plus-two” meeting in Washington, D.C., April 30 amid the rise of common challenges and the growing security and economic importance of the Asia-Pacific region.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met with their Philippine counterparts, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin, at the State Department to discuss the longstanding bilateral partnership and new areas of cooperation.

“With the growing security and economic importance of the Asia- Pacific,” Clinton said during a press conference after the meeting, “the United States is actively working to strengthen our alliances, build new partnerships and engage more systematically in the region’s multilateral institutions.”

Panetta described the meetings as “very successful,” saying they discussed ways the two governments can work more closely together “to strengthen the important alliance that we have, to deepen our engagements, and to find shared solutions to the joint security goals that we share.”

The U.S.-Philippine relationship, he added, “is an alliance and a friendship built on historic ties, common democratic values and a shared desire to provide our two peoples a prosperous and more secure future.”

Del Rosario said the consultations ” … opened an avenue for us to consider ways of fine-tuning our relations as we adapt to changing circumstances, both in our region and the world at large. Thus the focal points of our consultations were how best to keep our alliance relevant and responsive to each other’s needs.”

Militarily, the U.S. and Philippine armed forces conduct nearly 20 combined exercises a year targeting humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and maritime security, officials said.

The collaboration includes the 28th iteration of Exercise Balikatan, meaning “shoulder to shoulder.” During the exercise, which began April 16 on Luzon and Palawan islands, U.S. and Philippine troops conducted humanitarian civic assistance projects, a natural disaster response command post exercise and field training exercises.

The Philippines deploys nearly 1,000 troops, police and civilians to U.N. peacekeeping missions every year, and the United States supports those with funding and training.

More than 100 ship visits were made to the Philippines last year, and in June the U.S. hospital ship USNS Mercy will offer medical, dental and veterinary services to Filipinos on the islands of Samar, Basilan and Sulu, officials said. U.S. and Philippine troops are planning to work together to build and renovate school and health facilities.

During the past fiscal year, more than 500 Philippine service members completed programs through the U.S. military system, and Philippine Military Academy cadets have been accepted into each of the major U.S. service academies.

“We have reached a critical juncture in our alliance where our concerns in both traditional and nontraditional aspects of our security have become much more intertwined,” Gazmin said.

“While we are sustaining the gains for successful efforts in various areas of cooperation,” he added, “we need to intensify our mutual trust to uphold maritime security and the freedom of navigation, and thereby contribute to the peace and stability of the region.”

Panetta emphasized how deeply the United States values its partnership with the Philippines and the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1951 “that remains the cornerstone of our security relationship.”

Working together, the secretary said, U.S. and Philippine forces are countering terrorist groups in the southern Philippines, and the United States will improve the archipelago’s maritime presence and capabilities this year by transferring a second high-endurance Navy cutter.

“We are working to expand and improve joint [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] programs and our ability to counter cyber attacks,” Panetta said.

The new U.S. defense strategy the Obama administration unveiled earlier this year, the secretary said, recognized the Asia-Pacific an important region on which America’s future security depends.

“As a resident Pacific power,” Panetta said, “the United States is committed to a rule-based regional order that promotes viable and vibrant trade and freedom of navigation.”

The United States, he added, is “enhancing our defense cooperation and expanding security partnerships throughout the region in order to sustain peace and stability. And we are committed to continuing our robust stabilizing presence in that region.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>