WASHINGTON DC; "Stronger than ever" is what a joint statement between the Philippine and United States, made avialble to media, on the first ever joint 2 + 2 talks between the USA, Department of State and Defense Department of the USA. As well as counterparts with the Dept of Foriegn Affiars and the Philippines Dept of Defense.
The high level talks statement while not directly reference China’s recent attempt to claim a reef off of the coast of the Philippine island of Luzon. Did directly support the Philippine position that claimants should, abide by international law "Competing claims in maritime areas through peaceful, collaborative, multilateral, and diplomatic processes within the framework of international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea." something the PRC has consistently refused.
Reafirmed commitments to ‘peace and stability in the region’ as well as the ‘commitment to ‘freedom of navigation’, and rights of nations to by international law seek solutions to disputes.
In strongerly worded sentence the document touched but did not diectly mention the current standoff with China off the Scraborough Shoals.
US-PH government 2+2 statement excerpt:
Reaffirm our common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and transit of people across the seas and subscribe to a rules-based approach in resolving competing claims in maritime areas through peaceful, collaborative, multilateral, and diplomatic processes within the framework of international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The 5 page statement on the 2+2 talks; stressed the alliance remains strong. "The U.S.-Philippines alliance remains an essential element undergirding regional peace, security, and prosperity. As our nations reflect on the strength and durability of our alliance, we also look to enhance our relationship in order to address even more effectively the range of regional challenges and opportunities that are of interest to both our governments. "
In it’s opening preamble the ministers level talks between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin.
The first time this “two-plus-two” type of meeting will occur between the two allies. "The Philippines are a terrific partner in that part of the world,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby. “We do enjoy a rotational presence in and around the Philippines. We’ve just wrapped up … the 18th annual Balikatan exercise. We enjoy a really close military-to-military relationship with the Philippines.”
The United States military wants to work with the Philippine military to improve an already good relationship, Kirby said. The U.S. relationship with the Philippines is “part and parcel” of the larger U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
“We also want to continue a rotational and training relationship with the Philippines,” Kirby said. “We are certainly NOT looking … for permanent basing there.” a pentagon breifing document released prior to the todays events said.
Below follows the full text of the Joint Statement on the Philippines-US 2+2 meeting