World Bulletin / News Desk
"We have close to $300 million in security assistance. The country that receives the largest chunk, as far as I understand, is the Philippines. So we're looking at about $60 million of that $300 million to come to the Philippines," said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Walter Douglas of the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as quoted by local media.
“It’s recognition of the long-term partnership we have with the Philippines on the security front, in addition to the other things. We see it as a priority to help the Philippines.”
Douglas, who is in Manila on an official trip, stressed that the American government recognizes the importance of its partnership with the Philippines as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump pushes its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.
He emphasized that aside from being Washington’s “close friend and ally”, Manila is a strong member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where “geographic areas and economies meet”.
Douglas said the Indo-Pacific strategy aims to create an economic environment based on openness, transparency and well-defined rules where every country can participate, including China.
The strategy aims to enhance two-way trade between the U.S. and the Indo-Pacific region, which totals around $1.4 trillion annually, by ensuring there is an environment that is free, fair and reciprocal.