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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 today with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr. by phone to discuss US-Philippines alliance cooperation. Both Secretaries reaffirmed the ironclad nature of the US-Philippines alliance and committed to redouble efforts to strengthen bilateral training, interoperability, and support for the modernization of the Philippine Armed Forces.

The Secretaries discussed recent events in the South China Sea, including PRC efforts to obstruct the Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal on August 5, 2023.  Secretary Austin condemned the China Coast Guard's use of water cannons and other dangerous maneuvers, which put the safety of Philippine vessels and crew at risk. He joined numerous countries in expressing concern about these unsafe operational activities, which undermine the status quo and directly threaten regional peace and stability. 

The Secretaries reaffirmed their shared commitment to upholding the rules-based order, including supporting the Philippines' right to conduct lawful maritime activities, consistent with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Ruling, which is final and binding on all parties. Secretary Austin reaffirmed 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 in the South China Sea. 

The Secretaries commended recent bilateral military cooperation, including collaborative efforts to deliver over thirty-two tons of humanitarian supplies to the remote islands off the coast of the Batanes island group and the mountain region of Cervantes Ilocos Sur impacted by Typhoon Egay.  They noted the swift response was critical for the well-being and safety of thousands of Filipinos in these regions affected by the typhoon. They praised the utility of Lal-lo Airfield in Cagayan, a new Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) location, in facilitating relief efforts.

The Secretaries committed to find a near-term opportunity to meet in-person and restated their commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as allies to bring security, prosperity, and stability to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.