Philippines hails US as top ally

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Adm. Harry Harris, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), and Gen. Eduardo Año, Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class James Mullen

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines’ military chief hailed the United States as his nation’s “number one ally” and announced a return of regular war games, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for warmer ties. Mr Duterte last week vowed to be “friendly” with the US, signalling an end to relentless criticism that included a vow to end all joint military exercises and branding then US president Barack Obama a “son of a whore”. Military chief Gen Eduardo Ano said yesterday the allies had agreed to increase joint military exercises for 2018 after they were scaled down this year. “The president said: ‘I want to be friendlier to the US’. So we have a closer relationship and more exercises,” Gen Ano said. “He (Duterte) said to continue engagement with the United States. They are still our number one ally.”

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