In a meeting in Washington on Sept. 19, the two officials discussed cooperation in addressing regional security challenges, including the militarization of the South China Sea.
State Department Photo by Michael Gross
US, Philippines affirm commitment to Mutual Defense Treaty
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo have reaffirmed the commitment of the United States and the Philippines to the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.

In a meeting in Washington on Sept. 19, the two officials discussed cooperation in addressing regional security challenges, including the militarization of the South China Sea.

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the secretaries also tackled the threats posed by terrorism and efforts to achieve denuclearization in North Korea.

Pompeo welcomed Lorenzana to the State Department during his first official visit to the US capital from Sept. 18 to 20.

“Secretary Pompeo reiterated the readiness of the United States to continue our strong support for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Nauert said.

Pompeo also expressed condolences for the destruction and loss of life caused by Typhoon Ompong and offered US assistance in humanitarian relief efforts.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also hosted Lorenzana with a full honor cordon at the US Department of Defense followed by a bilateral meeting between their respective delegations.

The two defense officials last met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June 2018.

“Most in our defense establishments agree that the Philippines-US alliance remains robust based on an enduring history of close engagement and our unwavering commitment to work together on shared values,” Lorenzana told his US counterpart during the meeting at the Pentagon.

The meeting’s wide-ranging discussion tackled bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as the defense modernization of the AFP.

Mattis expressed solidarity with the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Ompong and pledged readiness to extend assistance if necessary. He also commended the courage and sacrifice of Filipino troops in liberating Marawi.

“Once again, the United States was proud to support you and we will always be proud to stand with the Filipino people to support our shared vision of a safe, secure, prosperous and free Indo Pacific region,” Mattis said.

While in Washington, Lorenzana also met separately with Republican Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Lorenzana exchanged sympathies with the legislators for the victims of Hurricane Florence in the United States and Typhoon Ompong in the Philippines.

DELFIN LORENZANA MICHAEL POMPEO MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY OF 1951
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