President Joe Biden met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, September 22. Biden talked about the “critical” relationship of the Philippines and the United States and the role Filipino Americans play in contributing to the United States.
Marcos mentioned the US donations of COVID-19 vaccines to the country and the thrust of the Philippines’ foreign policy of peace in the Southeast Asian region.
Read the full transcript of their conversation and watch the video below.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: I think I woke you up election night, I called you so late to congratulate you. Well, it’s a great victory and my best to your wife as well.
The relationship between the United States and the Philippines, to state the obvious, has very deep roots.
We’ve had some rocky times but the fact is it’s a critical, critical relationship from our perspective. I hope you feel the same way.
And we have strong ties including millions of Filipino-Americans, who are very proud of their ancestry and desperately want us to continue to have a strong relationship.
And our foundations are strong with the US-Philippine alliance which has critical importance.
For decades, our alliance has strengthened both of us I believe and one of the things we want to talk about today is how we continue to strengthen it and work together on the things that have greatest concern to you.
Today, I look forward to discussing the opportunities for a wide range of issues including COVID-19 recovery, energy security, renewable energy.
I was impressed with the work you did on windmills and a whole range of other things. You and I both think that’s the future we can do a lot – we can do a lot together. I’m desperately interested in making sure we do.
In addition, I expect we’ll discuss the South China Sea and disputes in critical global throughway. I’ve spent a lot of time with not only the President of China but others about the international waters and how they had to be respected. And we should talk about that long [inaudible] I hope.
And we also thank you for your position on the war against Ukraine and by Russia. And how it’s impacting energy prices and food prices. And we are working very hard to be able to do something about that.
And so we want to talk about human rights – several whole range of things. But I’m mainly – I’m interested to know what’s on your mind and how we can continue to strengthen this relationship.
And again, congratulations. (READ: LIVE UPDATES: Marcos visits New York, addresses United Nations)
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Thank you, Mr. President.
We are very happy for the opportunity to meet with you despite the schedules that we both have to deal with.
BIDEN: You came a little further than I [did].
MARCOS: Well, the relationship, the 100-plus-year-old relationship between the Philippines and the US continues to evolve as we face the challenges of this new century and the events that we have been watching over the past few months really.
So we have very much to discuss in terms of redefining I suppose in many ways. But the role of the United States in maintaining the peace in our region is something that is much appreciated by all the countries in the regions and the Philippines especially.
We feel that we are especially fortunate because we have a very strong foundation of a very long relationship and strong relationships on various facets not only political, not only diplomatic, but also economic. And of course there is the very large Filipino population that has chosen to live and make their lives here in the United States and have been very successful.
Again, we would like to thank the United States for the massive help that we received during the pandemic with the provision of up to 35 – almost 36 million doses of vaccines very earlier on – I heard of some of the other countries – and for that we are very, very grateful.
We continue to look to the United States for that continuing partnership and the maintenance of peace in our region. In terms of the geopolitical issues that we face in this day and age, the primary consideration of the Philippines and the guiding principle of the Philippine foreign policy is to encourage peace.
And I hope that we will be able to discuss further the roles that our two countries will play together and individually as we continue down that road – maintaining peace despite all the complexities that have arisen in the past few months I suppose.
So thank you again, Mr. President, for making time to see us. We are your partners, we are your allies, we are your friends. And in like fashion, we have always considered the United States our partner, our ally and our friend.
BIDEN: Thank you. That’s beautiful. – Rappler.com