PH, U.S. reaffirm alliance in call between Locsin, Secretary of State

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — The Philippines and the United States reaffirmed their strong ties during a phone call between the two countries' top diplomats.

Recently installed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed he spoke with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr. via a tweet Thursday, calling what transpired a "great conversation."

"We'll continue to build upon the strong U.S.-Philippine Alliance with our shared interests, history, values, and strong people-to-people ties," he said.

Locsin responded to the tweet with one of his own, adding, "We'll get a lot done soon."

No other details of the conversation have been disclosed.

A statement from U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price also confirmed the conversation between the two Secretaries, saying they "reaffirmed that a strong U.S.-Philippine Alliance is vital to a free and open Indo-Pacific region."

"Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of both nations, and its clear application to armed attacks against the Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea. Secretary Blinken also underscored that the United States rejects China's maritime claims in the South China Sea to the extent they exceed the maritime zones that China is permitted to claim under international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention," he said.

Earlier, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez expressed confidence that relations between Manila and Washington will still run smoothly after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

"First and foremost is the policy on the West Philippine Sea for instance. The policy shifted during the time of President Trump, they recognized our arbitral award will be continued by the Biden administration," he added.