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Cayetano, Pompeo affirm Philippine-US alliance in latest meeting

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(Files) US President Donald J. Trump (L) talks to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R) before the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017. World leaders are in the Philippines' capital for two days of summits. / AFP

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo reaffirmed the country’s alliance with the United States during the diplomats’ first meeting on Thursday, June 21 with the US Department of State at their headquarters in Washington D.C.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said Messrs. Cayetano and Pompeo discussed the Philippines’ independent foreign policy and its position on issues, such as the South China Sea and the Korean peninsula.

“Secretary Cayetano and Secretary Pompeo had an open and cordial interaction at the State Department today and we are optimistic this would reinforce the ties that bind the relations between our two countries and peoples,” Mr. Romualdez said.

In a statement, US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said the two diplomats also explored opportunities to enhance bilateral trade, increase security cooperation and strengthen people-to-people ties between our two countries.

Mr. Romualdez also said Mr. Cayetano delivered a personal letter from President Rodrigo R. Duterte congratulating President Donald J. Trump for the recently concluded summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

The two countries also reaffirmed security ties on Thursday after the meeting of National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr. and his American counterpart John R. Bolton in Washington D.C.

“Our meeting with Ambassador Bolton provided us with an opportunity to discuss how we could work together to further strengthen our security alliance,” Ambassador Romualdez said in a statement.

According to Mr. Romualdez, Messrs. Esperon and Bolton discussed issues related to terrorism and other regional concerns, such as the situation in South China Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also said Manila expressed gratitude for Washington’s assistance during the Marawi siege last year and on the rehabilitation of the Islamic City.

The DFA noted that it was the first time Mr. Bolton met with top Filipino officials since his appointment as National Security Adviser in April. — Camille Aguinaldo





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