By Roy Mabasa
The two top national security officials from the Philippines and the United States have reaffirmed the importance of their countries’ security alliance amid the latest developments in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and on the fight against terrorism.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. met with his American counterpart John Bolton at the White House last week, where they had the opportunity to discuss broadly the security ties between Manila and Washington.
“Our meeting with Ambassador Bolton provided us with an opportunity to discuss how we could work together to further strengthen our security alliance,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said in a statement.
During the meeting, Esperon expressed the Philippine government’s gratitude for the assistance the US extended during last year’s siege in Marawi, and its commitment to contribute to the rehabilitation of the city.
According to Romualdez, Esperon also discussed with Bolton issues related to terrorism and other regional security concerns, such as the situation in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula.
The meeting was the first for Bolton, who once served as the Permanent US Representative to the United Nations, with Filipino officials since his appointment as National Security Adviser by US President Donald Trump in April.
From Washington, DC, Esperon traveled to New York City where he joined officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs for the command conference of Filipino diplomats covering the Americas.
The NSA chief briefed the Filipino ambassadors and consul generals on matters concerning the country’s security and the government’s handling of the South China Sea issue.