The United States government has welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to suspend the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) for another six months.
“We welcome the Government of the Philippines’ November 11 decision to suspend termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) for another six months,” the US Embassy in the Philippines said November 12.
It noted that the US-Philippines alliance remains vital to our robust, deep-rooted bilateral relationship.
“The United States will continue to partner closely with the Philippines to strengthen our mutual security ties,” the US embassy added.
On November 11, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, Jr. announced the decision of President Duterte. The abrogation of VFA was first suspended in June.
“The past four years have changed the South China Sea from one of uncertainty about great powers’ intentions to one of predictability and resulting stability with regard to what can and cannot be done, what will and will not be acceptable with regard to the conduct of any protagonist in the South China Sea,” Secretary Locsin said in a letter to White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
The letter was posted on Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)’s website.
“Clarity and strength have never posed a risk. It is confusion and indecision that aggravate risk,” Locsin added. “A great deal of credit for the renewal of stability and security goes to deft diplomacy, unequivocal expressions of policy, sturdy postures of strength combined with unfailing tact, and pragmatic national security advice exhibited by both our governments in the same period. “
“In appreciative recognition thereof, my President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has instructed me to convey with the appropriate formality his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement by yet another 6 months, to enable us to find a more enhanced, mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement on how to move forward in our mutual defense,” the foreign affairs secretary said.