The new U.S. ambassador to the Philippines on Tuesday expressed confidence there will be a stable relationship between the two countries, in spite of recent anti-American statements by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Amb. Sung Kim thanked Duterte for a warm welcome as he presented his credentials, just five days after he arrived in Manila.
According to presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella, they spoke for about an hour.
“Over the weeks, months and years ahead, I look forward to working closely with the Philippines’ government and Filipino people.
“Also to expand our relationship and to engage in many areas of mutual interest.
“I am confident that our mutual respect combined with the close ties, shared history and values.
“I will ensure stability in our relationship over the long term and the years and decades to come,” Kim said after the meeting.
Since he took office in June, Duterte has criticised the U.S. in various statements and vowed to “separate” the Philippines from America by following foreign policy that does not mimic that of Washington’s.
He had wanted to scrap annual joint military exercises between Filipino and American troops, but later agreed to a reduced number of war games after defence officials noted the benefits of the activities.
Duterte has also vowed to review a 10-year enhanced defence agreement with the U.S. signed in 2014.
Report says the pact allows greater access for U.S. troops to military facilities in the Philippines.