The United States is looking to forge a civil nuclear cooperation deal with the Philippines as the latter pushes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.
The US will be “providing technical assistance and regulatory guidance to support the growth of the Philippines’ civil nuclear energy program,” Blinken said in a press conference in Washington.
“We’re looking to grow our cooperation through a 123 Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation which will make it easier for us to share technical knowledge as well as nuclear material and equipment,” he said.
The United States’ 123 Agreement is “a legally binding framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the US and [its] partners,” according to the US Department of State website.
“The criteria require 123 agreements to legally obligate our partners to observe specific standards in a multitude of areas including peaceful uses… and prohibitions on enriching, reprocessing, and transfer of specific material and equipment without our consent,” it read.
“A full-fledged nuclear cooperation partnership can lead to political and economic ties lasting as long as 100 years and can be the catalyst for cooperation on other foreign policy issues.”
In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed to prioritize the use of renewable energy to address climate change.
“The use of renewable energy is at the top of our climate agenda,” Mr. Marcos said.
“We will increase our use of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, geothermal power, solar and wind,” he said.
In January, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said the two traditional allies are set to begin consultations on the drafting of its 123 agreement “including the export of nuclear technology.”
As of 2022, the US has forged civil nuclear agreements with 23 states, including Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, among others.
Aside from nuclear cooperation, Washington is also “committed to helping the Philippines reach its ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2030,” Blinken said.
“To do that, the US Government and critically, the private sector, are supporting the growth of the offshore wind market, the development of nickel and cobalt facilities that will help the Philippines sustainably process minerals essential to the clean energy transition,” he said. With Vince Lopez