Remarks With Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario at Their Meeting

Press Conference

By:  John Kerry
Date: Oct. 10, 2013
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I'm delighted to be here with my friend Albert del Rosario, the Foreign Minister of the Philippines. And I've just had a communication with President Aquino and the Foreign Minister. And we have agreed for a decision that we have made, because of the judgment of our pilots and the airlines, that with the approaching typhoon we are going to postpone the trip that I was going to make to the Philippines.

I want to emphasize the strength of our relationship, the bilateral ties that we have that are literally unbreakable, and my own personal connections to the Philippines. I was enormously looking forward to going back, because I was deeply involved in events historically with the change of government from President Marcos to President Aquino and other ties going back to my days in the Navy even. So I'm sorry not to be there in the next day or so.

But the good news is I am absolutely committed to returning within a month or so. I'm coming back to the region, and I look forward to visiting with our friends in the Philippines. And I'm very grateful to President Aquino and to the Foreign Minister for their understanding of this situation. This is a big storm. Obviously storms can change paths at the last minute. We wish the people in the Philippines safety, and their wellbeing is our concern over the course of the next days. And I'm very appreciative to the Foreign Minister for his understanding. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER DEL ROSARIO: We regret the postponement of Secretary Kerry's visit to Manila. And this is due to the possibility, increasing possibility now, that there is a major typhoon that could be entering Philippine responsibility.

We, of course, we're eager to welcome Secretary Kerry. He is an old and dear friend to the Philippines. And in addition to seeing him, we had planned to meet and discuss the many bilateral issues that -- well, these are not issues actually, but we have -- we wanted to use this as an opportunity to be able to further advance our alliance and our strategic partnership.

We are -- nonetheless, we are looking forward to the visit of Secretary Kerry. He has promised the President that he would be coming before the end of the year. So we'll see him then.

SECRETARY KERRY: I will absolutely. I have a trip coming out here to the region. I think originally we're going to Vietnam. We'll be coming to the Philippines, if it works for you.

FOREIGN MINISTER DEL ROSARIO: It works for us.

SECRETARY KERRY: And I really look forward to it. So thank you so much for understanding.

FOREIGN MINISTER DEL ROSARIO: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend. All right. I will miss this visit, but I'll be there in a few weeks. Thank you. All right. Thank you all very much.