U.S., Philippine Leaders to Discuss Alliance's Future
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 27, 2012 American and Philippine officials will discuss the state of the alliance between the two nations during an April 30 meeting at the State Department, DOD officials said here today.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will meet with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin. It is the first time this “two-plus-two” type of meeting will occur between the two allies.
In conjunction with the meeting, Panetta will hold a joint service honor cordon to welcome Gazmin to the Pentagon.
The Philippines are a terrific partner in that part of the world,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby. “We do enjoy a rotational presence in and around the Philippines. We’ve just wrapped up … the 18th annual Balikatan exercise. We enjoy a really close military-to-military relationship with the Philippines.”
The United States military wants to work with the Philippine military to improve an already good relationship, Kirby said.
The U.S. relationship with the Philippines is “part and parcel” of the larger U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
“We also want to continue a rotational and training relationship with the Philippines,” Kirby said. “We are certainly not looking … for permanent basing there.”