President Benigno S. Aquino III today met with United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter during a courtesy call in Malacañang Palace. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras are with President Aquino during his meeting with Carter.
The American defense chief was accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shear, US Defense Secretary’s Chief of Staff Eric Rosenbach, Senior Military Assistant to the Defense Secretary Brig. Gen. Eric Smith, and Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.
Carter arrived in the country Wednesday.
Also present on the Philippines’ side were DND Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino; Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice and Peace Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista; Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri; and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia, Jr.
During a joint press conference with Secretary Gazmin in Malacañang, Carter announced the conduct of joint patrols between US and Filipino forces in Philippine territories, especially in the South China Sea.
The joint patrols will involve the two countries’ navies and air forces, according to Carter.
Carter also said that some members of the US military participating in the ongoing Balikatan exercises will be left behind in selected Philippine bases to improve interoperability of both forces and enhance the capability of Filipino forces, both in conflict readiness and disaster response, as well as during accidents.
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