Fri. Jul 12th, 2024
Joint Statement on the Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue

The following statement was jointly released by the United States and The Philippines on the occasion of the successful conclusion of the 11th Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C.:

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Senior Philippine and U.S. officials gathered in Washington for the 11th Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) on April 22 and 23. First held in 2011, the BSD serves as the main annual platform for our two countries to: discuss the full range of political, security, and economic cooperation; exchange views on current challenges and strategic priorities; and identify new collaborative initiatives.

Both sides recalled milestones of the intervening year, reflecting shared dedication to further fostering the bilateral partnership and alliance. These include: two meetings between Presidents Biden and Marcos; the joint State and Defense Ministerial Dialogue (“2+2 Ministerial”); a U.S. Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines; a trilateral ministerial; and leader-level trilateral summit with Japan, as well as inaugural bilateral dialogues on food security and energy policy.

In keeping with Presidents Marcos and Biden’s “shared vision of partnership, peace, and prosperity,” the two sides re-dedicated themselves to cooperation by:

Expanding the Breadth of Partnership. The two sides renewed pledges to work together to address pressing global and regional challenges in support of a free, safe, and open Indo-Pacific. Underscoring the importance of continued dialogue to ensure cooperation on issues of mutual interest, both sides committed in 2024 to:

  • Hold the fourth “2+2” ministerial dialogue;
  • Convene the inaugural joint committee meeting under the U.S.-Philippines Science and Technology Agreement;
  • Establish a Roles, Missions, and Capabilities (RMC) Working Group to replace the Defense and Security Working Group;
  • Establish inaugural bilateral dialogues on cyber-digital, space, and democracy; and
  • Deepen collaboration on countering foreign information manipulation.

Modernizing Alliance Cooperation. The Philippines and the United States reiterated the importance of the security alliance and shared commitments under the Mutual Defense Treaty in an increasingly complex security environment. They committed to establishing a new framework for alliance communication and coordination, enhancing operational cooperation and interoperability in the maritime domain, including with likeminded partners, and accelerating capability development. Building upon the historic progress in the defense relationship, including the unprecedented scope and scale of this year’s Exercise BALIKATAN, a combined exercise with Japan and Australia in the South China Sea, and monthly bilateral maritime cooperative activities, the two sides committed to further defense and security cooperation by continuing discussions with a view to:

  • Concluding the bilateral Philippines – Security Sector Assistance Roadmap (P-SSAR);
  • Fully finalizing the addition of sites and implementing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), to include DoD investing $128 million for infrastructure as part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget;
  • Prepositioning USAID disaster relief commodities for Philippine civilian disaster response authorities at key EDCA sites;
  • Concluding a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) by the end of 2024; and
  • Expanding multilateral cooperation with likeminded countries, including through maritime cooperative activities, bilateral and multilateral exercises, and security cooperation coordination.

Promoting An International Law-Based Maritime Order. In reiterating their shared commitment to a maritime order based on international law, the two sides called upon the PRC to comport its maritime claims in the South China Sea with the international law of the sea as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the “Convention”), to respect the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction, to comply with the final and binding July 12, 2016 judgment in the Philippines v. China arbitration, and to cease its aggressive and dangerous actions that are inconsistent with its obligations under the Convention, including its unlawful interference with the Philippines’ freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

The two sides recognized the importance of maintaining peace and security in the maritime domain, including transit routes for foreign merchant and commercial vessels, and called for the safe and immediate return of the Filipino seafarers affected by the crisis in the Red Sea.

The U.S. and Philippine governments decided to:

  • Convene the 3rd Maritime Dialogue in September/October 2024 in Manila and build upon the outcomes of the countries’ prior dialogues and meetings;
  • Explore additional opportunities to strengthen global support for upholding the international law of the sea;
  • Deepen cooperation to strengthen efforts in addressing Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, in line with relevant international law and voluntary guidelines; and,
  • Consider and develop, as appropriate, procedures and protocols on cooperative maritime law enforcement operations, in accordance with international law and our respective national laws

Advancing Our Common Prosperity, Protecting Our Shared Planet. Both sides stressed that our partnership should continue to benefit our peoples and future generations alike. They welcomed work to advance best practices in strategic trade management and the clean and renewable energy transition, noting the ongoing engagement on civil nuclear cooperation and the signing of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.  They recognized the significant outcomes made under the U.S. 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) host year and progress under the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), especially through the entry into force of the Supply Chains Agreement and conclusion of the Clean Economy and Fair Economy Agreements.  The Philippines welcomed the development of a Millennium Challenge Corporation threshold program and the United States’ commitment to considering the Philippines for the Compact Program based on updated data later this year. The two sides committed to advancing the Luzon Economic Corridor under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI)-IPEF Investment Accelerator, to support connectivity between Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas and investments in rail, port modernization, clean energy and semiconductor supply chains, and agribusiness. Both sides also discussed opportunities for further cooperation on critical minerals processing, digital upskilling, and semiconductor supply chains under the CHIPS Act and in cooperation with USAID. Both sides exchanged views on addressing economic vulnerabilities and approaches to strengthening private sector partnerships, recognizing the imperative of increasing economic growth in both countries. They also shared priorities for the May 21 Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila, which will be sponsored by the U.S. Government in partnership with the Government of the Philippines.

Strengthening Multilateral Cooperation. Both sides discussed their respective and shared multilateral priorities, identifying opportunities for closer cooperation at the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations. They emphasized the importance of strengthening the free, safe, and open international order based on rule of law and respecting the UN Charter as the foundation of cooperation among nations. Both sides:

  • Underscored the urgent need to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Strongly opposed any threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state;
  • Reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait; and
  • Committed to advance a free, safe, and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive, prosperous, secure, and based on international law, and that protects shared principles including territorial integrity; sovereignty; sovereign rights and jurisdiction; and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

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originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS