By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said that at least 280 joint military activities between US military and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have already been lined up for next year.
The diplomat said this during a press conference at the Seda Abreeza Hotel in Davao City on Tuesday as he assured that the alliance between US and Philippines remains strong and robust despite President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s tirades against the US.
“He (Duterte) says a lot of controversial things publicly but I think many of us focus on what is happening in the relationship and spend less time worrying about public statements and speeches,” Kim said.
The US and Philippine militaries held over 250 joint activities in 2018, including minor exchanges and major activities like the Balikatan Exercise where thousands of US troops participated, as the US considered the partnership between the two countries as very important, according to Kim.
Kim admitted that he had enjoyed all his meetings with the President, whom he described as a strong and popular leader.
“I actually enjoyed all of my meetings with President Duterte. He is very well informed. He has strong opinions. We may not agree on every single issue but he has, in numerous occasions, shared his perspective that the Philippines has only one alliance and that is with the United States. And that will not change,” he said.
Kim said the Duterte had expressed appreciation for the support of the US in the besieged Marawi City.