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Rubio Calls On Obama To Strengthen U.S.-Philippine Relations During Visit

Nov 18, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s visit to the Philippines:
“As President Obama visits the Philippines, our alliance is now over six decades old and has become a pillar of our strategic position in Asia. Its success to date is rooted in the cultural ties embodied by the millions of Filipino Americans who are active contributors to American society.
“The Philippines is a close democratic ally that needs our support as China continues its campaign of coercion against it. I welcome President Obama’s announcement of the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative, a program to help build the maritime capabilities of countries in the region, and his decision to transfer two naval vessels to the Philippines. I also hope that the Senate will take up S.1855, the United States-Philippines Security Partnership Enhancement Act of 2015, to continue deepening our security relationship.
“The President should clearly state that we are committed to defending the sovereignty of the Philippines and reiterate our strong support for the Philippines’ efforts to peacefully resolve its territorial dispute with China. We should expand existing programs to help train and equip Filipino coast guard and naval forces so they can better defend their own waters and airspace. I also hope that our countries will be able to move forward with plans to enable U.S. access to bases and facilities in the Philippines. These will be valuable to our efforts to continue to ensure freedom of navigation for all countries in the region.
“I enjoyed my visit to the Philippines in January 2014 and my meetings with Filipino officials, including President Aquino, to discuss our shared challenges in this important region. I witnessed the resiliency and fighting spirit of the people of Tacloban in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
“The stakes for our two countries could not be higher, because the next few years will determine whether the Asia-Pacific region develops in peace and freedom, and whether Americans will remain an integral part of the region’s growth. I hope that President Obama uses his visit to Manila to make clear that our commitments to security in the Asia-Pacific remain ‘ironclad.’”