US Republican Senator Robert Corker visited the Philippines from August 8 to 10, to meet with government officials and discuss pertinent social and security issues shared by both nations.
While in the Philippines, the American senator was accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg. Together, they met with President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Part of their meeting is discussions on the importance of the bilateral relationship, expanding trade ties and developments in the South China Sea. The US commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and issues of trafficking in persons, were also discussed. The US senator also met with Philippine National Police officials to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Senator Corker voiced concern about China’s increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea and welcomed Philippine efforts to resolve territorial disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law. He expressed strong support for the US-Philippine alliance as a cornerstone of peace and security in the region and reconfirmed the United States’ commitment to the Philippines.
He then noted the strong trade ties between the United States and the Philippines were critical to economic prosperity and good jobs in both countries. Furthermore, the senator urged the Philippines to pursue membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to expand its trading ties with other nations.
Finally, the US senator praised the Philippines in its progress to combat the global scourge of human trafficking, as well as the US commitment to work with other nations as they step-up their efforts to pass anti-human trafficking laws and improve enforcement of such laws.