US Secretary of Defense strengthens ‘close partnership’ with PH

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US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with President Benigno Aquino III at the Malacañan Palace during his visit to the capital on August 30.

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As the last stopover of his Southeast Asian trip, Hagel’s visit demonstrates his government’s effort to strengthen its “deep and unbreakable” alliance with the Philippines.

Clarifying the plan of increased rotational presence of US troops in the country, Hagel said, “The United States does not seek permanent bases in the Philippines. That would represent a return to an outdated cold-war mentality. Instead we are using a new model of a military-to-military cooperation befitting to great allies and friends.”

He went on to say, “Continuing the close partnership between our nations is an important part of America’s long-term strategy of rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific.”

Hagel then went on to meet with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and interacted with the members of the press also at the Palace. Marking the 62nd anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US, Hagel’s visit also emphasized the importance of US-Philippine defense and security ties.

“The United States does not seek permanent bases in the Philippines. That would represent a return to an outdated cold-war mentality. Instead we are using a new model of a military-to-military cooperation befitting to great allies and friends,” he concluded.

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