DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario met with United States Senator John McCain on the issue of sovereignty in the South China Sea

John McCain (R-AZ), United States Senator
The Philippine Embassy in Washington reported that Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario met with Senator John McCain, a senior Republican Senator from Arizona and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 21.
Secretary del Rosario expressed agreement with Senator McCain’s call for the United States to step up efforts in supporting Southeast Asian countries on the issue of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
At a dinner sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on June 20, Senator McCain said the United States should assist the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in developing and deploying an early warning system and coastal vessels in the areas being disputed.
He also emphasized the importance of diplomacy and a unified effort in helping ASEAN address differences with China. They both agreed that a multilateral approach is vital in resolving differences among the claimant nations. They also supported a rules-based regime and a binding agreement to preserve the peace in the region. Senator McCain added that the best way to prevent conflict is to build capabilities and undertake joint operations.
The Senator also reiterated the United States government’s support for the Philippines, which he considers the first democracy in Asia and a close treaty ally of the United States.
Secretary del Rosario highlighted the importance of trade cooperation between the two countries.
After a discussion on the Save Our Industries (SAVE Act) bill, Senator McCain expressed his readiness to be a cosponsor.
The SAVE Act will allow the entry to the US duty-free of Philippine apparel exports made of U.S.-made fabrics and reduced tariffs on those that use US-made yarns.
The SAVE Act would represent the first major trade initiative between the two countries in nearly 40 years.