PH and US Defense secretaries talk about Covid-19 and South China Sea
Philippine and American defense secretaries in a phone exchange
MANILA – Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper had a conference call last Friday, June 12,2020 and discussed developments on Philippines-US bilateral defense relations.
In a statement from the Department of National Defense released late Sunday morning, it was learned Secretary Esper expressed his appreciation for the DND’s support for the Philippine government’s decision to suspend the termination of the Agreement Regarding the Treating of US Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines (VFA).
Secretary Lorenzana was reported to have taken the opportunity to share the Philippines’ response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and expressed appreciation for the medical assistance and donations of medical supplies provided by the US government. Secretary Esper mentioned that developments on vaccines and therapeutics in the US are making very good progress and conveyed their willingness to share them with US allies and partners once available.
The discussion also covered the security situation in the South China Sea (SCS), counter-terrorism and logistics cooperation, particularly on the capability upgrades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Both Defense establishments committed to sustain dialogues amidst the pandemic and further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. (Melo M. Acuña)
US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper (left) and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana before their bilateral meeting last November 19,2019 at the Department of National Defense at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. (US Embassy File Photo)