- US ambassador to Manila Kim Sung said the alliance between the two countries remain strong
- The envoy asserted US has nothing against the Philippines’ efforts to broaden ties with China
- The US also understands the challenges President Duterte is facing amid the government’s war on drug campaign
MANILA, Philippines – The diplomatic alliance between the United States and the Philippines remains strong despite the latter’s effort to improve relation with China under the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was assured by US ambassador to Manila Kim Sung at the general membership meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) held at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday, February 28.
Sung clarified Washington is not against Duterte’s effort to broaden the country’s ties with Beijing with whom it had a bitter territorial dispute over contested islands in the West Philippine Sea for decades.
However, the envoy said the maritime dispute and how the claimants resolve the issue remains a concern for the US.
“We care very deeply about fundamental rights like freedom of navigation and overflight and we hope that all countries refrain from unilateral actions including building structures and militarization that go against international law and norms,’ said Kim.
On the issue of Duterte’s war on drugs, Kim said the US understands the challenges Duterte is facing and why the President is trying so hard to solve the illegal drugs and corruption problems in the country.
“There are concerns about some aspects of how the policies and the practice are being implemented, but we know there is a big problem and he’s right to be focused on it,” Sung said.
Sung’s statement on Duterte’s drug campaign is a complete departure from the ones made by the previous administration of former US President Barack Obama who condemned the Philippines’ alleged rampant killings of drug suspects over the first few months of Duterte’s term in Malacañang.
However, Kim acknowledged that the current situation in the country will certainly affect the investment climate as there were US businessmen who have expressed their concerns on how their operations should be managed on the ground amid the alleged prevailing culture of violence.