Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Philippine, US Military Chiefs Say Ties Remain Robust | Military.com

Philippine, US Military Chiefs Say Ties Remain Robust | Military.com: The chiefs of the Philippine armed forces and the United States Pacific Command said Tuesday the two countries' military ties remain robust, with both sides committed to their alliance and cooperation on maritime security, counterterrorism and humanitarian aid.

The upbeat statement issued at the end of a Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board meeting came after threats by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to reduce military cooperation with Washington and expand security ties with China and Russia.

Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., head of the U.S. Pacific Command, co-chaired the meeting with Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya, the Philippine armed forces chief.

Harris said last week in Washington that there's been no change so far in U.S.-Philippine military cooperation but that there could be a "re-scoping" of some big joint exercises in 2017.

The Philippines and the U.S. are longstanding allies who signed a mutual defense treaty in 1951.

"The successful completion of the MDB-SEB ensures continued, robust relations between the U.S. and Philippine militaries," the statement said. "This highlights the enduring commitment of both countries to the U.S.-Philippine alliance."