PH, US ‘look forward’ to trilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) — The Philippines and the United States are looking forward to trilateral cooperation with Japan and Australia — which the two countries believe share their views on regional security.

According to a joint statement released on Tuesday (Philippine time), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his US counterpart Joe Biden agreed to strengthen bilateral alliance and expand regional collaboration on the areas of peace and security.

“The leaders welcome cooperation with partners that share the United States’ and the Philippines’ commitment to international law and mutual respect,” read the two countries’ joint statement, which was released after the two leaders’ bilateral meeting in Washington.

“They look forward to establishing trilateral modes of cooperation among the Philippines, Japan, and the United States, as well as the Philippines, Australia, and the United States,” it added.

During the meeting, the two countries said Philippine and US leaders underscored the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones, as well as affirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

No details on the trilateral cooperation sought were bared, but Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez earlier said that joint patrols involving the Philippines, the US, Japan and Australia are possible.

Meanwhile, Biden also reaffirmed the US’ “ironclad alliance commitments” to the Philippines, as he reiterated that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments.