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Past 12 months ‘year of consequence’ for US-PH relations, says US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson

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By Veronica Uy
Photos courtesy of U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

The past twelve months was a “year of consequence” for US-Philippine relations, United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said Tuesday night at the celebrations of the 248th US Independence Day and the 70th Philippine-American Friendship Day.

It was a year of “considerable challenges and exceptional achievements,” the ambassador said, noting the agreements made at the historic US-Philippines-Japan trilateral leaders’ summit in April.

There, “the United States reaffirmed our ironclad Alliance commitments that have helped safeguard peace security in the Indo-Pacific for decades. Together with our partners, we remain unwavering in our commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight, and to the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones consistent with international law,” Ambassador Carlson said.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Teresa Lazaro echoed these sentiments and noted the significant progress in strengthening defense capabilities and ensuring regional stability brought by this partnership.

“Together, we remember the United States Declaration of Independence and honor its fundamental principles of freedom, equality, democracy, and self-determination. These same tenets shared by the Philippines and many other like-minded countries are as consequential to the founding of our United Nations as they are to the preservation of the rules-based international order today,” Undersecretary Lazaro said.

“We recognize the pivotal role of our alliance in strengthening our own defense capabilities and safeguarding peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. More so now in the face of challenges to international law. We thus welcome the expansion of our cooperation to include our other like-minded partners which allows us to advance our shared priorities by maximizing complementarities in our capabilities and resources,” Undersecretary Lazaro added.

Ambassador Carlson noted the two countries’ booming commercial and economic ties, exemplified by the announcement of the Luzon Economic Corridor and the first US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission, which resulted in $1 billion in investments and new partnerships.

Undersecretary Lazaro also pointed to the launch of the Luzon Economic Corridor as a major deliverable of the Trilateral Summit. This initiative, part of the G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, aims to accelerate economic growth, support connectivity, and ensure food and economic security in the Philippines.

The high-ranking Philippine diplomat also mentioned upcoming strategic dialogues, including the Two-Plus-Two meeting with Foreign and Defense Ministers, and the inaugural Cyber and Democracy Dialogues, which reflect the increasing scope and frequency of US-Philippine engagement.

Ambassador Carlson thanked donors, embassy teams, hotel staff, and other workers who made the evening’s celebration possible. Aside from food and drinks, there was music from Memphis blues, New York hip-hop, Detroit Motown, Nashville country, and New Orleans jazz; some were rendered by Filipino artists led by Jed Madela.

“We are here tonight to celebrate our strong and enduring people-to-people ties, our economic cooperation as partners in prosperity, and our security and defense collaboration as treaty allies committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the ambassador said.

Ambassador Carlson and Undersecretary Lazaro expressed gratitude to those who have contributed to US-Philippine relations.

In a toast to the shared July 4 holidays, Carlson and Lazaro celebrated the enduring partnership between the United States and the Philippines, expressing optimism for a safer, brighter, and more prosperous future for both nations.

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