Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana was introduced to his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in an introductory phone call where they reaffirmed the military alliance between Manila and Washington, the Filipino official's office said in a statement.
Austin is the first African-American to head the Pentagon. When President Joe Biden was vice president, Austin was an Army commander in Iraq. Lorenzana is also a retired army general.
The two defense chiefs agreed to a face-to-face meeting in the future, according to a statement from Lorenzana's office.
"Secretary Austin reaffirmed commitment to the Philippines-U.S. alliance through the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), and the Agreement Regarding the Treatment of U.S. Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines (VFA)," it said.
"The Secretaries covered the security situation in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea (WPS/SCS), particularly on the capability upgrades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Both sides committed to sustain dialogues amidst the pandemic and strengthen cooperation between the two defense establishments," it said.
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