‘No surprises’ in US-PH ties under Biden; SCS stance to ‘remain in place’ – Romualdez
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines could expect “no surprises” in its relationship with the United States under President Joe Biden, Manila’s top diplomat in Washington said.
For instance, the policy of the U.S. on the South China Sea (SCS) issue “will remain in place” even after a leadership change in the US State Department, Philippine Ambassador Jose Romualdez said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.
“We probably expect the relationship would be one that is normal in the sense that there are no surprises. For the South China Sea, the shift in the policy of the United States, which was announced by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, will remain in place,” Romualdez said.
“This is what we were told by the incoming state secretary. He said that our China policy in the Southeast Asian part of the world will remain the same,” he added.
Antony Blinken, who previously served as deputy national security adviser under the Obama administration, was tapped by Biden to head the State Department.
According to Romualdez, the Philippine embassy has already reached out to Biden’s team following the US elections last November.
“We were able to have some conversations with them…We’ve been interacting with a lot of the Democratic senators and their staff members and we’ve been discussing issues that are important to both our countries,” the ambassador said.
U.S. envoy to PH
The timeline in which a new ambassador to the U.S. is still to be determined, according to Romualdez.
“I’m not sure how soon the Biden administration will name an ambassador to the Philippines. What’s important here now is the pandemic. This is a top priority for the United States,” he added.
The previous U.S. envoy to Manila, Sung Kim, left his post last September to serve as Washington’s next top diplomat in Indonesia.
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