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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr. today to congratulate him on his appointment and discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Philippines alliance.  Secretary Austin and Secretary Teodoro celebrated the remarkable progress the United States and the Philippines have made over the past year to deepen defense ties, including expanding cooperation under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, conducting joint patrols in the South China Sea, and concluding Bilateral Defense Guidelines. 

The two leaders committed to building on these important achievements in the months ahead, including by expeditiously concluding a Security Sector Assistance Roadmap, which will advance shared defense modernization goals over the next five years, as well as a General Security of Information Agreement to enable future transfers of advanced and interoperable U.S. technology.

Secretary Austin noted with concern the PRC's recent coercive and risky operational behavior directed against Philippine vessels operating safely and lawfully in the South China Sea, including around Second Thomas Shoal.  He highlighted the United States' ironclad alliance commitment with the Philippines and reiterated that the Mutual Defense Treaty extends to Philippine public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces—to include those of its Coast Guard—in the Pacific, including anywhere in the South China Sea.  The Secretaries reaffirmed their commitment to upholding the rules-based order and supporting the livelihoods of local Philippine communities and other claimant states that seek to conduct lawful maritime activities in the South China Sea, consistent with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Ruling.

Finally, Secretary Austin highlighted opportunities for the United States and the Philippines to coordinate more closely with other like-minded partners, including Japan and Australia, to ensure the region's shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific continues to thrive.  The Secretaries agreed to meet in person for in-depth discussions on defense and security priorities.  Their discussion reaffirmed the United States and the Philippines' enduring commitment to standing shoulder-to-shoulder as allies to bring greater security, prosperity, and stability to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.