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US VP In Manila On Nov. 20

US VP In Manila On Nov. 20
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in honor of Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11, 2022, in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by AFP

United States Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with President Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte in Manila during her visit to the Philippines next week.

She will be arriving in Manila on Sunday evening, Nov. 20, following her participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

In a background briefing on Wednesday, Nov. 16, a senior US administration official said Harris will visit Puerto Princesa during her visit from Nov. 20 to 22, the “highest-ranking US official ever to visit Palawan.”

During her visit in the country, Harris will deliver remarks underscoring the importance of international law, unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

On Monday, Nov. 21, she will have a meeting with Duterte and then a longer bilateral meeting with Marcos.

“The focus with President Marcos will be twofold: strengthening our security alliance and economic relationship,” the official added.

On security, the Vice President will reaffirm US defense commitments to the Philippines and the importance of their alliance in peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Harris and Marcos will discuss upholding international rules and norms.

According to the senior official, Harris will also commit to work more closely with the Philippines to strengthen the economic partnership and investment ties.

Later on Monday, the Vice President will have an opportunity to meet with civil society activists, demonstrating the US’s continued support for human rights and democratic resilience.

The Vice President will travel to Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Tuesday, Nov. 22, where she will meet with residents, civil society leaders and representatives of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“This visit demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to stand with our Philippine ally in upholding the rules-based international maritime order in the South China Sea, supporting maritime livelihoods and countering illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing,” the official added.

As part of her effort to uphold international rules and norms around the world, during her engagement with the PCG, the Vice President will deliver remarks underscoring the importance of international law, unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Harris has prioritized maritime cooperation with nations throughout Southeast Asia.

During the US-ASEAN Summit in May 2022, she led the session with ASEAN leaders on maritime security and launched $60 million in new Coast Guard initiatives for Southeast Asia.

“And now, in her engagement with the Philippines’ Coast Guard, which has benefitted from US partnership, training and equipment, she will see firsthand the outcomes of this partnership and discuss how to strengthen it even further with new funding and initiatives.”

During her engagement with the residents of Palawan, she will be discussing the impacts of illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing on coastal economies and their livelihoods.

“The Vice President feels very strongly about getting outside of government buildings and engaging directly with people who often don’t get to interact with high-ranking US officials,” the official said.