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US Pacific fleet commander affirms “enduring” ties to the Philippines




Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano with Admiral Scott Swift today. Picture courtesy of the US Embassy in Manila

The commander of the US Pacific Fleet affirmed the US Navy’s strong ties with the Armed Forces of the Philippines during a visit to Manila today (Wednesday, June 14).

Admiral Scott Swift met Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, army chief General Eduardo Año and Philippine Navy Flag Officer in-Command Vice Admiral Ronald J S Mercado during his visit that began on Sunday.

President Duterte is continuing his rest break, which began when he missed Independence Day commemorations on Monday.

“The Philippine Navy is a valued and enduring ally of the US Navy and a close partner of the Pacific Fleet,” Admiral Swift said, stressing a commitment to address security concerns in the region such as counter-terrorism and piracy.

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“We continue to build on the strong relationship we have and to reaffirm our commitment to working together to face shared challenges,” he added.

As we reported earlier this week, US special forces are playing a role in the continuing Marawi crisis. Armed but non-uniformed operatives have been pictured near the city, which has been occupied by members of the Islamic State-affiliated Maute terror group.

Despite a pledge to clear the city by Independence Day, the fighting has now entered its third week.