Other Government Release

Department of National Defense

Teodoro, Austin huddle in Shangri-La Dialogue

June 2, 2024 (Singapore) — Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and United States Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III met on the sidelines of the 21st International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue yesterday, June 1, to update each other on the progress made by both countries since the recent SQUAD meeting in Hawaii.

Secretary Austin opened the discussion by congratulating President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for “eloquently laying out the Philippines’ position on the South China Sea.”

Secretary Teodoro responded by expressing his “appreciation to the US for supporting President Marcos’ thesis which underscores that rights of small states.”

Secretary Austin reiterated the point he made during his talk on The New Convergence in the Indo-Pacific on the previous day. “The harassment that the Philippines has faced is dangerous — pure and simple. And we all share an interest in ensuring that the South China Sea remains open and free,” he stressed.

“We are beyond friends and allies, we are family. What affects you affects us,” he added.

Secretary Teodoro shared the ongoing efforts of the Department of National Defense in upgrading the Philippines’ capabilities in line with its Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC), and expressed the importance of exploring more ways to further deepen and enhance the alliance of the two countries, specially in cybersecurity, information sharing, and other areas.

The US defense chief gave his assurance that the US continues to standby its commitments under the Mutual Defense Treaty or MDT.

After taking up matters of mutual concern, the two Secretaries looked forward to this year’s ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus in Prabang, Lao, PDR, in November.