PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday met with US Ambassador Sung Kim at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City, where the two tackled security and law enforcement matters.
In a statement, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Kim affirmed the long-standing ties between Manila and Washington.
“He (Kim) reiterated the commitment of the US to the bilateral relationship with the Philippines, which he described as ‘solid,’” Abella said.
Duterte and Kim met after the Philippine leader launched the country’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“The US ambassador congratulated the Philippines on its assumption of the Asean hosting and looked forward to a successful leadership,” Abella said.
During the 45-minute meeting, Abella said Kim discussed military and law enforcement cooperation between the US and the Philippines.
“Furthermore, he also discussed military cooperation, particularly in the fight against terrorism, and the extent of US assistance to Mindanao,” the Palace official said.
“Citing cooperation in law enforcement, Ambassador Sung Kim stressed that the US will continue to provide support, including intelligence exchange and in maritime security. It was a very productive meeting marked by an open exchange of ideas,” he added.
Philippines-US ties were frayed as the President launched one tirade after another against the US, President Barack Obama, and Kim’s predecessor, Philip Goldberg. Washington has been critical of Duterte’s bloody drug war.
But the relationship between the Philippines and the US is expected to warm up once Obama’s successor, President-elect Donald Trump, takes office on January 20.
Duterte has been cordial toward Trump, even inviting him to visit Manila this year.