DFA welcomes visit of US Secretary of State Tillerson for ASEAN-related meetings
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it welcomes the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other top US State Department officials to the Philippines to participate in the the ASEAN-related meetings.
In a statement on Friday, the DFA said Tillerson and the US State Department officials will “also discuss with their Philippine counterparts at the sidelines a wide range of relevant issues including the security situation in Marawi, addressing the global threat of terrorism and, most importantly, increasing Philippine-US economic and people-to-people engagement.”
“These discussions are all aimed at strengthening the old friendship between the two countries,” the DFA said.
Tillerson will be attending the Asian Regional Forum in Manila. He is also slated to visit Thailand, and Malaysia, the US State Department said in its Twitter account.
If the issue of the Philippine human rights situation is brought up, the DFA said it “understands it part of their duty as 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. We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” the DFA statement added.
“The Philippines is the oldest democracy in Asia and respect for human rights is a shared valued especially with our treaty ally, the United States. Discussions on the issue of human rights are always included in our engagements with foreign governments, in particular with Western democracies,” the DFA said.
The Philippines came under criticism from former US President Barack Obama for the reported thousands of deaths as Manila pursues its anti-drug war under President Rodrigo Duterte.. DMS