Blinken to reaffirm MDT, increase human rights in first PH go to 

‘I stay up for reinforcing the robust US-Philippine relationship and our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, the rule of legislation, safety, and prosperity,’ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says on the eve of his assembly with Philippine officers

MANILA, Philippines – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is anticipated to highlight Washington’s dedication to its Mutual Protection Treaty (MDT) with the Philippines, and increase the safety of human rights and press freedom throughout his first official go to to the nation on Saturday, August 6. 

“I stay up for reinforcing the robust US-Philippine relationship and our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, the rule of legislation, safety, and prosperity,” Blinken stated in a tweet shortly after his arrival within the nation.

Blinken’s go to, which can embody a gathering with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., marks the primary time America’s prime diplomat visits the Philippines, the oldest US ally within the area, in over three years. The final was Mike Pompeo in March 2019.

“We imagine that early and frequent engagement will place us to advance our shared pursuits and values,” a senior state division official stated. 

Earlier than Blinken, different senior US officers who visited the Philippines embody Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in early June, and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who led the US delegation to the President’s inauguration final June 30.

Blinken’s cease within the Philippine capital follows a sequence of conferences held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the place international ministers across the area met for the fifty fifth Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations Ministers’ Assembly (ASEAN). The gathering of leaders within the regional bloc was largely overshadowed by escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan – an island that shares a sea border with the Philippines off the northernmost a part of Luzon. 

China is at present holding live-fire workout routines in seven areas surrounding Taiwan, with some drills anticipated to happen in areas the self-governing island thought-about a part of its territorial waters. The present of pressure comes after US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, a transfer that enraged Beijing. 

China’s actions round Taiwan have been considered as escalatory and with out latest precedent, however in different areas within the area, together with the South China Sea, Beijing has more and more challenged the boundaries of what is taken into account acceptable army conduct.

It’s in opposition to this backdrop that Blinken is anticipated to resume the US’ dedication to its 1951 MDT with the Philippines, a protection pact that sees the 2 nations decide to defend each other in case of an assault, together with within the South China Sea. 

“Secretary Blinken will reinforce and underscore to our Philippine allies that our dedication to our Mutual Protection Treaty is ironclad,” the state division official stated. 

Human rights, press freedom

Whereas in Manila, talks between Blinken and Marcos will likewise see the US official increase human rights and press freedom within the nation each “usually as effectively as particular instances.” 

Human rights watchdogs have flagged the persecution of activists, the continued detention of former opposition senator Leila de Lima, and hundreds of deaths underneath the Duterte authorities’s drug struggle – majority of which stay unresolved. 

Underneath the Duterte administration, the Home of Representatives additionally rejected the franchise renewal of the largest broadcast community, ABS-CBN, whereas the Securities and Trade Fee revoked Rappler’s license to function, which Rappler has appealed.

Maria Ressa, US Secretary of State Blinken discuss protection of independent media

Except for these, the Division of International Affairs earlier stated bilateral discussions may also embody methods to broaden financial ties and develop cooperation on tackling local weather change – two areas Marcos has recognized as key priorities underneath his administration. 

“Commerce, not assist,” Marcos had stated in a gathering with senior officers of the US embassy in Might, shortly after successful the presidency.  – Rappler.com


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