UK Foreign Minister visit to Manila to strengthen relations on trade, maritime and defense
UK Foreign Minister visit to Manila to strengthen relations on trade, maritime and defense
UK Foreign Minister visit to Manila to strengthen relations on trade, maritime and defense
by Karen Ow-Yong29 August 2023
Photo Courtesy: DFA

MANILA - The United Kingdom (UK) and the Philippines are pursuing stronger relations under an enhanced partnership agreement to further enhance cooperation in the areas of defense, security, maritime, climate and people-to-people ties.

In a meeting in Manila, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo and British Foreign Minister James Spencer Cleverly, the first UK Foreign Minister to visit the Philippines since 2016, signed a Joint Statement of Intent to develop a Framework Agreement that will define the scope of bilateral cooperation under the Philippines-UK Enhanced Partnership.

“It seeks to build on the exchanges that our two countries have been undertaking in the areas of defense, security, maritime, climate, economic and people-to people ties, since we launched our Enhanced Partnership in 2021,” Manalo said in a statement.

Manalo added that the UK is an important-long-standing partner of the Philippines, especially in this time of geographic upheavals, economic disruptions and challenges to the rule of law.


“During our meeting today, we also discussed pressing and evolving regional and international issues of mutual concern. The Philippines and the UK are like-minded partners through our shared values of democracy and the rule of law, our unwavering commitment to the rules-based international order, and our pursuit of peace and stability,” Manalo said.

In his speech, Cleverly highlighted the benefits of both people from the UK-Philippines Enhanced Partnership, such as climate, trade, science and tech and shared security, and is founded on shared values and shared belief in openness, freedom and the rule of law.

Cleverly added that trade between the UK and the Philippines is now the highest it’s ever been - around 2.4 billion pounds in goods and services.

Earlier this year, the UK launched the British Investment Partnerships in the Philippines to boost investments in clean infrastructure and renewable energy. The UK also launched a new trading scheme to increase Philippine exports to the UK.


The UK and the Philippines is also looking into broadening maritime cooperation, including sharing knowledge on maritime law, promoting Maritime Domain Awareness, and advancing environmental protection, and to support the Philippines in adapting to the unavoidable consequences of climate change, particularly in coastal areas and oceans.

Aside from Manalo, Cleverly met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Malacanang, as he affirms the strong relationship between the two nations during this “exciting time for UK-Philippines relationship.”

Cleverly also visited the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to hear about “the work they do uphold the UNCLOS” and protect the environment, as he reiterates that the UK is building enduring partnerships with the Philippines and likeminded countries across the region to safeguard security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

The UNCLOS or United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is an international treaty signed by 160 states in 1982, allowing coastal nations the right to explore, manage and exploit resources within 200 nautical miles from their shores.


The UK, together with the US, Australia, Japan, the European Union, France, South Korea and New Zealand, expressed condemnation on the attack of the China Coast Guard against Philippine Coast Guard vessels undertaking a resupply mission for soldiers stationed on BRP Sierra Madre beached on Ayungin Shoal on August 5.

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