US relations ‘strong and irreversible,’ says Philippine official ahead of Trump trip
Top diplomat hails improving relations between two countries, following Duterte affirmation of alliance
“President Trump will definitely receive a very warm welcome in Manila,” Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement on Saturday.
“President Trump’s visit underscores the improving relations between the Philippines and the United States, which no less than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told me is on an upward vector,” the statement added.
The comments come after Cayetano met with Tillerson last Wednesday in Washingotn to discuss strengthening the longtime links between the two nations.
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte drew headlines in Chinese and Russian media last week when he asserted the importance of the Philippine-US security alliance, an apparent change in tack from earlier threats of breaking the military partnership.
“[My spate of tirades against Washington] is all water under the bridge, I was under advice by the Department of Foreign Affairs, that I would temper my language and avoid cursing, which I am prone to do if I get emotional,” Duterte said in a speech last week.
“I would not say they were our saviors, but they are our allies and they helped us. Even today, they provide crucial equipment to our soldiers in Marawi to fight the terrorists,” he added.