McCain Delegation’s Visit to the Philippines
Former Republican Party presidential candidate and US Senate Armed Forces Committee Ranking Member John McCain, along with four US senators met with President Benigno Aquino III and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on Tuesday.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), this US Mission to the Philippines is part of their trip to Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Vietnam for the purpose of broadening and deepening the existing defense and security relations between the two states.
Accompanied by the US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr., the group included Joseph Liberman, Sheldon Whitehous, and Kelly Ayotte.
On Tuesday afternoon, the McCain Delegation met with the Foreign Secretary to ”discuss the US defense and development assistance to the Philippines, West Philippine Sea and China, updates on the Mindanao Peace Process, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Fourm¸ Myanmar, climate change, and the renewed engagement of the US in the Asia Pacific.” As said by the DFA.
As said by the DFA, The Senator uttered “strong affinity” for the Philippines and affirmed the “long and friendly personal relationship” between the two states. With regards to the West Philippine Sea and China issue, McCain expressed that the freedom of navigation is the best way to avoid confrontation with China.
Senator Lieberman, US Senate Committee on Homeland Security expressed his appreciation for the Philippines’ cooperation in counterterrorism. He also asked for updates concerning the ongoing Mindanao Peace Process, as Rafael Seguis, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs presented updates concerning the Government of the Philippines – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GRP-MILF) Peace Process, and expressed confidence that both sides will be able to sign a peace agreement by the end of the Aquino Administration.
The group met with President Aquino the following evening to tackle issues, in which Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesperson, stated that the subject matter to be discussed by President Aquino with Senator McCain in Malacañang included the “Save Our Industries Act”, “clarifications on the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty”, and the issues concerning the West Philippine Sea .
Mccain, together with the four US senators, is scheduled to be in the country until the 18th of January.
Avendaño, Christine. 18 January 2012. Aquino, McCain to discuss Spratlys. Retrieved from: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/23105/aquino-mccain-to-discuss-spratlys
Department of Foreign Affairs. 18 January 2012. Secretary del Rosario Meets with US Senator John McCain and Delegation to Discuss Future of Phl-US Relations. Retrieved from: http://dfa.gov.ph/main/index.php/newsroom/dfa-releases/4614-secretary-del-rosario-meets-with-us-senator-john-mccain-and-delegation-to-discuss-future-of-phl-us-relations