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US defense chief Mattis praises Philippines progress vs militants

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, right, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines — US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is congratulating the Philippine government on progress against militants in the southern city of Marawi.
 
Mattis arrived in the Philippines on Monday to meet with senior government leaders and to attend a meeting of Southeast Asian defense ministers.
 
In remarks to reporters flying with him from Washington, Mattis praised the Philippine military for what he called "sending a very necessary message to the terrorists."
 
Mattis also plans to visit Thailand and South Korea this week, in advance of President Donald Trump's visit to the region in November.
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