Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr: Small nations must unite in geopolitical issues

2024 June 11

UNITY. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomes New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters in Malacañang on Tuesday (June 11, 2024). During their meeting, the President emphasized the importance of unity among small nations in dealing with geopolitical challenges. (Presidential Photojournalists Association)

MANILA – Small countries should band together and mount a united front to effectively deal with geopolitical challenges, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday in his meeting with visiting New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters.

“I am very pleased to be able to welcome you to Manila after the very good visit that your Prime Minster had here with us just a few weeks ago,” Marcos told Peters, referring to the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in April.

“And at which time they… we agreed on many things and one of which was that the situation in our part of the world requires that… shall we say the smaller countries get together and have a response or a joint positioning when it comes to these geopolitical issues that we are… this complicated geopolitical issues that we are facing,” the President added.

During Luxon’s visit, the Philippines and New Zealand have taken steps toward deeper economic and defense cooperation.

Among the key agreements tackled was the possible signing of a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA).

Aside from the United States, the Philippines also has a SOVFA with Australia and is currently developing a similar defense pact with Japan, known as the Reciprocal Access Agreement.

These types of military partnerships allow Filipino and foreign soldiers to train in each other’s territory, as well as improve and share military equipment and assets.

Peters is in Manila for an official visit this week to enhance bilateral relations and explore new avenues for partnerships in trade and investment, renewable energy and combating climate change.

Marcos expressed elation over Peters’ visit which he deemed crucial to further enhance bilateral ties between the two countries.

“I am happy that you’re able to come here. I hope that you’ll be able to be in touch with some of our officials and also those in the private sector to develop some of these ideas that we spoke about with the Prime Minister,” he said.

For his part, Peters thanked the President for the warm welcome, telling him that after Prime Minister Luxon’s visit to Manila, “they had some very productive talks.” 

Darryl John Esguerra (PNA)