इंडियन आवाज़     21 May 2024 10:33:01      انڈین آواز

US plans to increase military support for Philippines

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The UNITED STATES has announced plan to significantly increase military support for the Philippines. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held talks in Washington on Friday. Defense department officials said the meeting underscored the strength of the two countries’ alliance.

Austin said the US seeks to dramatically increase the budget for Philippine bases where the US forces are allowed to work jointly with the Philippine military.

The two leaders discussed opportunities to deepen bilateral planning and operational cooperation, including increasing the frequency of combined maritime activities like joint patrols, to support the Philippines’ lawful exercise of its rights in the South China Sea. They also agreed to accelerate a number of bilateral initiatives to enhance information-sharing, interoperability, and capability enhancements for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Austin and Marcos are said to have discussed opportunities to deepen cooperation, including increasing the frequency of combined maritime activities, such as joint patrols.

Marcos said his visit to Washington has reaffirmed the strength of the US-Philippine relationship amid the threats and challenges the two countries face together.

Earlier in the day, the two countries held their first “three-plus-three” ministerial meeting in Washington. It was attended by both countries’ foreign, defense and security officials.

The two countries are believed to be boosting their security alliance in response to China’s activities in the South China Sea.

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