MANILA, Philippines — United States President Joe Biden is eyeing to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte to affirm the two countries’ bilateral ties, Manila’s Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez said on Monday.
In a Palace press briefing, Romualdez said Biden had sent a letter to Duterte to express his hope to meet him in the near future.
The US and the Philippines will celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties in July.
“Sumulat na nga si President Biden kay President Duterte and not only the occasion of the 75th anniversary but to inform him about the relationship between the Philippines and the United States will continue,” he said.
“He hopes that he will be able to meet in person with the president at some point in time,” he added.
There is no schedule yet for the meeting between Biden and Duterte.
Romualdez also said that Biden likewise expressed hope that Duterte will extend the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between Manila and Washington as part of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
The VFA came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines. It includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.
Duterte last year order the abrogation of the VFA, which is anchored in the PH-US 1951 defense treaty.
The termination of the deal, however, was suspended citing the coronavirus pandemic and the relevant developments in the region.