• Melo Acuna

American presence in Asia provides balance of power.

US presence in Asia benefits the Philippines, says Foreign Secretary Locsin

MANILA – Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., said the US presence in the region stands to benefit the Philippines.

In an interview with ANC Headstart this morning, he said with American presence, the region has a balance of power situation.

“Yes, we need the US presence in Asia, That’s why in the discussions on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, the one request is let’s keep out foreign powers and I said, no, that completely undermines the very independence of the countries who are not going to agree to a Code of Conduct so we don’t unnecessarily hurt each other-unnecessarily,” he said.

He explained as a diplomat, he doesn’t foreclose any means to protect the sovereignty and freedom of one’s country which may include the worst.

On the suspension of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Secretary Locsin said Iraq has no VFA and he would like to find out other modes that are “less painful or offensive” to national feelings that may be pursued. He added he would ask Iraq how they handle foreign visiting forces in their country. He further explained a visiting forces agreement has nothing to do with sovereignty as it pays attention to how countries treat US forces when they commit a crime.

“It’s a matter of jurisdiction,” he explained.

He added on the military aspect, the Americans are needed because the Philippines’ defense posture depends on the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. For a foreign country to cross the line and get into the metropolitan territory of the Philippines, it would trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty.

With the latest twin-bombings in Jolo which killed abut 17 persons, including the two suicide bombers, Secretary Locsin said they have not stropped cooperation with the United States. (Melo M. Acuña)

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

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