President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes Admiral Harry Harris Jr., commander of the United States Pacific Command, to Malacañan Palace as the latter paid a courtesy call on the the president. Also in the photo is US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim.
Presidential Photo/King Rodriguez
Philippines, US reaffirm alliance for regional stability
( - May 20, 2018 - 3:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States on Sunday reaffirmed their enduring alliance to fight terrorism and preserve regional stability and development.

In a press release, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the two parties made the affirmation to boost the alliance anchored on common values and interest, historic ties and the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“The Philippine Delegation had a very substantive exchange with Admiral [Harry] Harris on regional challenges and both sides agreed that the alliance remains consequential to the preservation of regional stability and development,” the DFA said. 

 The high-level discussion on critical regional and international issues was between Philippine delegate Executive Secretary Medialdea and US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harris Jr. and the commanders of all PACOM service components.

Also among the delegation who participated in the meeting are  DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año, Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr.

During the meeting, the DFA said, the US and the Philippines also agreed to work on thier anti-terrorism campaign through exchange of information. The two parties want to work closely to fight terrorism and counter violent extremism.

The DFA said Harris also congratulated the Philippines over its decisive victory in Marawi siege. On the other hand, the Philippine representatives thanked the US for its strong support.

Philippines and China

Meanwhile, according to the DFA, the Philippine Delegation stressed that the “deliberate and nuanced diplomacy by the Duterte Administration had lowered tensions in the region and resulted in clear economic gains for the Philippines in terms of access to marine resources, protection of the marine ecology, and the potential to explore oil and gas resources.”

In August last year, President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his personal stance against the US, said that he will not invoke the defense treaty with the US if the Philippines confronts China in its violations in the South China Sea, and if the latter chooses the aggressive path.

"I will not call on America. I have lost trust in the Americans," Duterte said.

The president made the statement after shrugging off the warning of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that Chinese are operating on a sandbar near Philippines-controlled Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea—the part of the South China Sea the Philippines claims as under its jurisdiction. —Rosette Adel

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