Bongbong Marcos is 1st foreign leader given full honors at Pentagon under Biden | Global News

Bongbong Marcos is 1st foreign leader given full honors at Pentagon under Biden

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 10:48 AM May 04, 2023

Bongbong Marcos is 1st foreign leader given full honors at Pentagon under the Biden administration

FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon, September 28, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)/File Photo

WASHINGTON D.C., United States — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was welcomed by United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin with full honors at the Pentagon on Wednesday, May 3 (US time).

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the full honors accorded to Marcos at the Pentagon – where they subsequently held a bilateral meeting – were the first to be given to a foreign head of state or government under the Biden administration, citing the US Department of Defense protocol office.


In their opening statements, Austin told Marcos that Manila and Washington are not just allies but are “family,” adding that the US will always have the Philippines’ back in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the region.


READ: We have your back in South China Sea – Austin to Marcos

Austin also reiterated Washington’s ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines, further saying that the two nations’ Mutual Defense Treaty applies to armed attacks against their armed forces, coast guard vessels, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including anywhere in the South China Sea.

The ranking US official also recognized how the Philippines has been an “indispensable friend and ally” of the US “for decades.”

Austin emphasized the degree of participation by combined military forces of allied nations under the Balikatan (Shoulder-to-shoulder) Exercises

“The recently concluded – the largest and most complex iteration of Exercise Balikatan and it included more than 17,000 troops in the Philippines, the United States, and Australia, training side-by-side across air, land, sea, and for the first time, cyberspace,” Austin pointed out.

“And I said before Mr. President, we’re more than allies, we’re family and we share a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific because a region governed by rules and rights help provide security and prosperity for our two countries and for the whole region,” he added.


READ: Marcos: US trip to pursue ‘economic engagement’

Marcos, for his part, said the “call of the times… is asking for us to meet the new challenges perhaps we have not faced before.”

“That’s why it is very important that it is continuing… the exchanges that we have started,” he added.

“I look to a very bright future between the Philippines and the United States – a future that is founded on the long experience and as you say, friendship and familial relationship because the people-to-people exchanges between our two countries have been ongoing at every level,” he also said.

The visit of Marcos at the Pentagon comes in the wake of the Philippines and the US reaffirming their security alliance amid tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

READ: Bongbong Marcos meets Joe Biden at the White House

In February, Marcos and the American defense chief met at Malacañan Palace. During his courtesy call, Austin promised to help the Philippines modernize its defense capabilities as well as increase the interoperability of American and Filipino military forces.

At a location of the Balikatan Exercises last week, Marcos witnessed the live-fire sea drills involving the sinking of an old Philippine Navy ship. He had expressed hope that through the military exercises, the Philippines could benefit from enhanced cooperation with the US.

READ: ‘Balikatan’ levels up for PH maritime defense

Balikatan, which is also a Filipino term for “sharing the load together,” is the largest military exercise held annually between the Philippines and the US. This year marks its 38th iteration and the largest to date.

Balikatan provides an opportunity for the armed forces of the two nations to enhance cooperation, increase capabilities, and improve interoperability in a conflict situation and disaster response.


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AFP chief open to much bigger Balikatan 2024

TAGS: Bongbong marcos, Joe Biden, Pentagon, Philippines, United States

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