PHL, US defense relations remain very strong –DND chief

MANILA — Defense relations between the Philippines and the United States remain very strong.

This was stressed by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday in the wake of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s announcement that the Philippines will also talk to other countries to get quality equipment that will beef up its Armed Forces.

“Our defense relations with the US remain (very) strong. (In fact), Americans call it ‘rock solid’. The US is really our primary ally because of the Mutual Defense Treaty which was signed in the 1950s, and it is still there, we have not abrogated the MDT,” Lorenzana said in Filipino.

“What the President said is that we will talk with other countries who can give us quality equipment that will strengthen our defenses,” he added.

“And we will do that, but we will still have our treaty alliance with the US,” Lorenzana further stressed.

As this develops, the DND chief said that he is scheduled to meet with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter by the end of this month in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other ASEAN defense ministers will also be present in the meeting and some of the topics to be discussed include security in the South China Sea, terrorism and other security and safety matters. Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA/