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US, Philippines renew military partnership

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The United States and the Philippines renewed their commitment under the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) as they commemorate Wednesday the 60th anniversary of the military agreement.

In a press conference in Malacanang on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the alliance between US and the Philippines has helped the security of both countries, which enabled them to gain progress in many fronts.

The partnership strengthened democracy, improved the economy and increased ties with the people in both countries, she said.

Clinton, together with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario signed the Manila Declaration renewing the commitment of both countries to the military pact. Clinton said the 60-year alliance under the MDT is not about the past but how the US and the Philippines could face the future together.

Starting last year, the US embarked on a campaign of more increased diplomacy, she said, inaugurating the first Philippine-US strategic dialogue in Manila and in June she welcomed the foreign affairs secretary in Washington.

Clinton said they are welcoming Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Secretary del Rosario in January in a two-plus-two format discussions in Washington, making it the first time four secretaries from both countries sit down together to take a comprehensive look at the partnership.

At the same, Clinton recognized that the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines has be updated and brought to the 21st century.

She said it will require working with the Philippines to provide greater support for external defense particularly maritime domain awareness for defensive maritime boundaries as the country resolves the West Philippine Sea issue.

“We’ve began extensive consultations between the two governments to determine exactly what are the specifics of such an approach would be, which is why we will be continuing those consultations. And in January, the foreign affairs secretary, the defense secretary will participate in the first ever two-plus-two contacts,” she said.

The US had similar dialogues with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and now it will be done with the Philippines, she said.

By PCOO/PIA9-ZBST




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