Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. on VFA Extension

White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien,

The past four years have changed the South China Sea from one of uncertainty about great powers’ intentions to one of predictability and resulting stability with regard to what can and cannot be done, what will and will not be acceptable with regard to the conduct of any protagonist in the South China Sea.  Clarity and strength have never posed a risk.  It is confusion and indecision that aggravate risk. 

A great deal of credit for the renewal of stability and security goes to deft diplomacy, unequivocal expressions of policy, sturdy postures of strength combined with unfailing tact, and pragmatic national security advice exhibited by both our governments in the same period. 

In appreciative recognition thereof,  my President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte,  has instructed me to convey  with the appropriate formality  his decision  to extend the suspension of the abrogation  of the Visiting Forces Agreement  by yet another 6 months, to enable us to find a more enhanced,  mutually beneficial,  mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement  on how to move forward  in our  mutual defense. 

Long Live Philippine US friendship and alliance.  I hereby send the Diplomatic Note in that respect.  Thank you.