Metro Manila, Philippines— President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met with US Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday, with both leaders praising the long-standing relationship between the two countries.

“The basis of our relationship is multifaceted. Our relationship is based on mutual commitment to the economic prosperity of the region and our respective nations,” Harris said at their meeting in Malacañang.

Harris said the relationship of both countries is “long and enduring” and remains strong for many reasons, among them the people-to-people ties.

In her meeting with Marcos, Harris said there would be more conversations concerning the economy during her visit.

“We will talk more on what that means in terms of the opportunities that are presented through our mutual concern about the climate crisis and what we might do in terms of investments and renewable energy and thinking about clean power and the industries that will come about because of that commitment,” she said.

For his part, Marcos said it was important that the relationship between both countries remains strong.

“I do not see a future for the Philippines that does not include the United States. And that really has come from the very long relationship that we have had with the US,” he said, adding Harris’ visit is a strong symbol of this strength.

“We went through different phases of relationship, but since the war it has strengthened in every way — in the economic sense, in the political sense, defense, security. I cannot think of an area where we have not cooperated, collaborated and have had good results for both our countries.”

Harris also met with Vice President Sara Duterte earlier, but no details on their meeting have been released yet.

‘Unwavering commitment’

Harris also briefly touched on the commitment of the United States to defend the country.

“Our relationship is based on mutual concerns about the security for the region,” she said.

“We must reiterate always that we stand with you in terms of defense of international rules and norms as it relates to the South China Sea, and armed attack on the Philippines Armed Forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US defense commitments. And that is an unwavering commitment that we have to the Philippines.”

Marcos earlier commented on Harris’ upcoming visit to Palawan and whether it would spark tensions between the country and China.

“I don’t think it will cause problems,” Marcos said in a briefing on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand last week.

Harris will be the highest-ranking American official to visit Palawan — a move seen to possibly raise tensions due to the province’s proximity to the contested Spratly Islands.

In August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the country where he also reaffirmed their commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). He vowed that Washington will continue to work with Manila on shared challenges.