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Austin Emphasizes U.S. Commitment to Defend Philippines

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III today hosted an enhanced honor cordon and meeting to welcome Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the Pentagon.

Austin underscored the U.S. commitment to the defense of the Philippines is ironclad, referencing President Joe Biden's remarks at the White House yesterday. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III stands with another official atop steps outside the Pentagon, flanked by honor guard members.
Welcome Ceremony
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stand together during an honor cordon welcoming Marcos to the Pentagon, April 12, 2024.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 240412-D-XI929-2007R

An attack on Philippine armed forces, vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would invoke the U.S. commitment under the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, Austin said. 

The forces of both nations have extended their operational coordination on land, at sea and in the air, the secretary noted.

"This level of cooperation is critical to our collective security and to peace and prosperity across the region," he said.

Construction workers build a school.
School Builders
Philippine and U.S. military personnel build an elementary school in San Fernando, Philippines, April 11, 2024.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Trent A. Henry
VIRIN: 240411-M-FP389-1126V
Two service members stand in front of a whiteboard with text in an enclosed space with one talking on a communications radio.
Airport Comms
Philippine and U.S. military personnel support flight operations at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, April 10, 2024.
Photo By: Army Spc. Abreanna Goodrich
VIRIN: 240410-A-CJ630-6139V
Austin noted that the president's fiscal year 2025 budget request seeks $128 million to fund 36 infrastructure projects on Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites in the Philippines, more than double the amount the U.S. has already invested in at those sites.

Marcos said that the Philippines has always been able to look to United States for support, and he said increased cooperation between the two governments and militaries should continue. 

The Philippine president praised the first U.S.-Philippines-Japan leaders' summit that took place yesterday at the White House. There Biden met with Marcos, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. 

The leaders of the three countries issued a joint vision statement at the summit. "We believe, fundamentally, that by working together, we can advance the security and prosperity of our own nations, the Indo-Pacific region, and the world," according to that statement.

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