Rodrigo Duterte meets with chief US diplomat Pompeo

Rodrigo Duterte meets with chief US diplomat Pompeo

Philippines’ President, Rodrigo Duterte met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Thursday night.The US Embassy Manila said in a statement that the closed-door meeting focused on the two nations’ collaboration on bilateral and regional security issues.The meeting between Pompeo and Duterte began at 9:05 p.m. and lasted for about an hour.Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo spoke in an earlier briefing that Duterte and Pompeo will likely discuss issues on security and terrorism, among other bilateral concerns.

Panelo added that the Mutual Defense Treaty is expected to be discussed, especially since the Defense Department has said they are seeking to amend the agreement to make it relevant to the ongoing territorial dispute at the South China Sea.Pompeo is likely to meet with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr., before leaving the Philippines on Friday.The top US diplomat visited Manila after accompanying US President Donald Trump for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, which ended with no denuclearization deal.

Pompeo’s visit comes amid warming ties between the long-standing defense allies, which was tested early in Duterte’s presidency when he blasted the Obama administration, US legislators and rights groups for criticism of his drug war.Duterte made earlier statements saying he would pursue an independent foreign policy, which would temper Philippine reliance on the US and improve ties with China and Russia, both US rivals.

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