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PH can’t live without US, DFA chief says

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday said the United States was an ally the Philippines cannot live without, and said despite recent irritants, the ties between the two countries remain strong.

“For upon the current condition of her undoubtedly superior strength depends, on the one hand, the clarity and celerity of her commitment to defend allies; and on the other, the ambiguity and indecision of that commitment when she gets up on the wrong side of the bed. But she is all we have,” Locsin said during a reception marking US Independence Day in Makati City Wednesday night.

“It’s like a spouse; can’t live without them but sometimes you wish you could. But really you can’t. It is not fear of alimony but of being alone—of missing a dependable presence in a world that shows only three consistent aspects: nastiness, brutishness, and brevity,” Locsin said.

In his remarks, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said the US relations with the Philippines remain strong.

“So many great things happened in our relationship and I remain very optimistic about the future of Philippines-US relationship,” Kim said, adding that both countries have shared values, a shared history and culture, common interests and “most importantly… warmth and mutual affection and respect.”

Kim said Washington stands by its Mutual Defense Treaty obligations to the Philippines in the event of an armed attack against the country, a commitment made clear by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to Manila early this year.

READ: PH-US defense pact likely item in Pompeo visit

Locsin noted that despite the Philippines’ pivot to China and his harsh criticisms of the US every now and then have raised questions on Philippines-US alliance, but relations remain unwavering.

“It is something that waxes and wanes, depending on the stages of the moon it sometimes seems… but in the end it is what makes us love America—she is the larger image of ourselves as we are her smaller image. And we care for her as we hope she cares for us; but in any case we always care,” he said.

“America’s great power and commitment to freedom and independence for herself and for the rest of the world allows her allies the freedom to maneuver with other nations; to make close friends of an untried disposition; to strike postures of friendliness dangerously bordering on blind trust; and of belligerence but without anxiety because someone has their backs,” he added.

Locsin said setbacks would not break the long-standing bond between the two countries.

“Some of us may wish for variety, but we know and history shows it: There can be only one—true friendship, like that of our two presidents. When we refused to vote with an anti-American majority in the UN, Nikki Haley said: ‘America has many friends in good times, but only true friends in challenging times.’ And so it is,” Locsin said.

Earlier, Kim urged all parties involved in the South China Sea to refrain from “provocative” and “unilateral” actions that go against international practices amid China’s reported missile testing in the disputed waters. 

“We obviously urge all countries to refrain from provocative and unilateral actions that are inconsistent with international norms and practices,” he said during a press conference in Makati City.

“We have stated our position very clearly for quite some time now and I believe that our friends in the Philippines agree that countries, including China, should refrain from such actions,” he added.

Kim said Washington was concerned about the reported militarization in the area.

“I think we have long been concerned and it’s not just the US but I think countries in the region have been concerned about aggressive unilateral actions in the disputed areas, including militarization by China. It’s clear that countries should behave according to international norms and practices and laws,” he stressed.

“In fact, China itself has indicated that it would stop militarization but obviously that has not happened,” he said.

A Reuters report dated July 3 quoted an anonymous source saying China has recently tested multiple anti-ship ballistic missiles in the South China Sea, an act described by the Pentagon as “disturbing.”

The Palace said it would conduct its own investigation into the reported firing of missiles. With PNA

READ: America’s state secretary likens Duterte to Trump

READ: Moving forward with Philippine-US relations

Topics: Teodoro Locsin Jr. , United States , US Independence Day , Sung Kim , Philippines-US relationship
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