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Palace: US statement of support for PHL will not agitate efforts to peacefully settle Spratlys issue

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The statement of the United States regarding its readiness to provide the Philippines with military assets will not agitate the efforts to peacefully settle the ownership disputes in the South China Sea, a Palace official said on Saturday.

In a radio interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the United States’ latest statement would not agitate the Philippines’s relation with China.

“It was just an affirmation of US-PHL commitment to a peaceful, stable environment in the region and to reiterate our stand for a multilateral approach in resolving issues,” she said.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. reported that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed readiness to strengthen the Philippines' capability in securing its maritime territory during his talks with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario at the Pentagon on June 24.

In a statement, del Rosario conveyed to U.S. defense officials that to complement the Excess Defense Articles, which the U.S. traditionally turns over to the Philippines, he was exploring an option to access "newer U.S. military assets which the Philippines could acquire quicker but through a deliberate selection and, which hopefully, are more cost-effective."

U.S. National Director for Intelligence James Clapper emphasized that the U.S. "has a long association" with the Philippines and "we'll do whatever we can to help" even as he expressed concern over the recent incidents in the West Philippine Sea. (PNA)




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