‘This is the time for ambition between Canada and the Philippines’ – minister
MANILA, Philippines — Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said Friday that now is the “time for ambition” between Manila and Ottawa, as she emphasized that the Philippines is at the “core” of her country’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Joly is in the country for an official visit, leading a delegation for a bilateral meeting with key officials of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) headed by Secretary Enrique Manalo.
“My message to you and my message to everyone in the room – This is the time for ambition between Canada and the Philippines,” she said in her opening remarks for the meeting held at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City on Friday.
According to Joly, Canada wishes to strengthen relations with the Philippines on issues concerning security, trade, and people-to-people ties.
She even noted that there are around one million Filipinos in Canada – a community they are “very proud of.”
“We’re also working on climate change issues, the need to help address the infrastructure gap and finally, having a stronger presence for Canada diplomatically here in the Philippines and also in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean),” Joly said.
The DFA earlier said discussing developments in the West Philippine Sea is on the agenda of Manalo’s meeting with his Canadian counterpart.
But there was no mention about West Philippine Sea issues up to the point in their meeting that was opened for media coverage.
Shortly after Joly arrived in Manila on Thursday, May 18, she paid a courtesy call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Malacañang. During her Palace visit, she asked that the Philippines support Canada’s free trade negotiations with the Asean.
Joly – the fourth Minister from Canada to visit the Philippines under the Marcos administration – will be in the country until Sunday, May 21.
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