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US vows defense aid to PH: Palace

US vows defense aid to PH: Palace
By EJ Roque
MANILA -- US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo assured President Rodrigo R. Duterte of his country's commitment to protect and help the Philippines in its defense in case an attack happens on its territories in their Thursday night meeting, Malacañang said Friday.

"First, according to them, if there is an attack on us then they will be protecting us or helping us in our defense. Number two, they will be providing us with arms – but not free. We’re going to buy it from them," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a briefing.

"In fact, the President related to the Secretary of State how he was disappointed when we were trying to buy rifles from them, but some senators opposed it until we were not able to buy. That’s why we have to run to other countries. And in fact, (Foreign Affairs) Secretary (Teodoro) Locsin (Jr.) commented - after in the courtesy call - he can’t even understand why we’re supposed to be allies of the US, and the US has been giving arms for free to other countries and yet, we, the strongest ally of the US cannot even purchase rifles from them," he added.

Panelo said Duterte cited the need for stronger ties between the two countries to preserve peace in disputed territories and fight terrorism.

"The President highlighted prospects of stronger and more meaningful ties with the United States, particularly on defense and security, peace and order, regional stability, as well as the rule of law in the conduct of activities in the West Philippine Sea to prevent escalation of tensions among countries involved. PRRD thereafter discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in countering terrorism and violent extremism," Panelo said in a statement.

Duterte also thanked Pompeo for the return of the Balangiga bells in the Philippines, Panelo said.

"The President then reaffirmed the strength of Philippines-US alliance. In response, US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo expressed confidence in the strength of Philippines-US alliance," he said.

Panelo said Pompeo "reaffirmed their country's commitment to strengthen cooperation and deepen engagement with the Philippines on matters of mutual interest and common concern at the regional and global arena, including the rule of law and need for a rules-based regime in the West Philippine Sea."

Aside from the President, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez were also in the meeting.

Pompeo arrived in Manila on Thursday for a two-day visit in the Philippines.

He traveled to Manila from Hanoi, Vietnam, where he participated in President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as well as bilateral meetings with Vietnamese leaders. (PNA)

US vows defense aid to PH: Palace US vows defense aid to PH: Palace Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 2:27:00 AM Rating: 5

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