PH welcomes visit of US Secretary of State

MANILA — The government on Friday welcomed the visit of United States (US) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other top officials to participate in the ASEAN-related meetings and discuss terrorism, security and other issues affecting the Philippines and the US.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the US State Department officials are expected to tackle with their Philippine counterparts at the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings the security situation in Marawi City, addressing the global threat of terrorism and increasing Philippine-US economic and people-to-people engagement.

“These discussions are all aimed at strengthening the old friendship between the two countries,” it said in a statement.

The DFA also understood that it was part of the duty of government officials to talk about human rights, not only with the Philippines but with the rest of the world.

“…Because they are accountable to their Congress and their press as they advance their values and interests. We share the belief that no country has a perfect human rights situation,” it said.

The DFA pointed out that discussions on the issue of human rights are always included in the country’s engagements with foreign governments, particularly with Western democracies.

It stressed the Philippines is the oldest democracy in Asia and “respect for human rights is a shared valued especially with its treaty ally, the United States.”

“We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” the DFA added.

The Philippines is hosting the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum on Aug. 7, Asia’s biggest security forum.

Tillerson will also participate in the East Asia Summit Ministerial and the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial.

Foreign ministers from 27 countries are attending the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings at the Philippine International Convention Center from Aug. 2 to 8. Leslie Venzon/PNA – northboundasia.com