Philippines-US relations

Marcos makes rare visit to US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii

Dwight de Leon

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Marcos makes rare visit to US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii

VISIT. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. walks alongside US Indo-Pacific Command commander Admiral John C. Aquilino during an honors ceremony in Honolulu on November 19, 2023.

US Indo-Pacific Command

Malacañang says Marcos is the first Philippine president to set foot in the US military’s biggest unified geographic combatant command

HAWAII, USA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. visited the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the last day of his weeklong journey in the United States.

The President met on Sunday, November 19, with Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the US military’s biggest unified geographic combatant command.

Marcos also toured around the USS Arizona Memorial and Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

“The visit included exchanges on regional security and mutual partnership, further developing the strong democratic, economic, and strategic partnership with the Philippines codified in the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” a press release from the USINDOPACOM website read.

It is rare for a head of state to visit the USINDOPACOM, and Malacañang said Marcos was the first Philippine president to set foot in the military base.

The USINDOPACOM covers the vast Indo-Pacific, including waters and airspace adjacent to the Philippines.

The visit comes as tensions between the Philippines and China continue to escalate in the West Philippine Sea.

When asked whether the visit resulted in fresh commitments from Washington on matters of cooperation in the territorial waters, Marcos said “we are in the middle of many assessments.”

“[There were] many discussions on how we can improve our capabilities, how can we improve our coordination with the US, not only with the military but also the political leadership,” he said.

After the visit, Marcos graced the Daniel K. Inouye Speaker Series hosted by the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

There, he reiterated previous assertions that the country won’t give up “a single square inch of our territory to any foreign power.”

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.