Biden admin will emphasize human rights in PH-US alliance – int’l studies professor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21) – The new US administration will emphasize human rights in affirming American alliance with the Philippines, according to an international studies professor.

Renato de Castro of De La Salle University said respect for human rights and the rule of law will be the key factor in the two countries' relations in light of US President Joe Biden's membership in the Democratic Party, and the insurrection that rocked the US Capitol last January 6.

"Democracy is fragile in United States, democracy is fragile elsewhere. As the beacon of democracy, the United States will ensure that this will be the agenda of the Biden administration," de Castro told CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Thursday.

De Castro explained these values, alongside the common security concern of combatting China's increasing maritime presence in the South China Sea, will define the relationship of the Philippines and United States under the 78-year-old American president's watch.

The international studies professor recalled that Philippine-US relations under former US President Donald Trump was merely "transactional," which does not uphold a values and security-based alliance.

"Human rights is a value sidelined by the Trump administration, but will be emphasized by the Biden administration," de Castro said.

De Castro added both sides should evaluate the importance of the alliance, especially with China's increasing might in disputed waters, through the review of the Visiting Forces Agreement and full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

The Philippine government said on Wednesday it is looking forward to fostering "close and friendly" relations with the Biden administration.