MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, July 27, hailed the Philippines’ “measured” response to the historic ruling against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Kerry said he brought this up in a meeting with his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr, on Wednesday morning.
Kerry said he praised “the very responsible and measured way that the Philippine government has responded to the decision.” (READ: PH calls for ‘restraint, sobriety’ amid favorable ruling on sea row)
Kerry is set to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday. He is the first foreign minister scheduled to meet Duterte.
Duterte earlier said he plans not to “flaunt” the Philippines’ victory in an effort to boost ties with China.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, Kerry added, “We hope to see a diplomatic process between and among the claimants without coercion without the use and threat of force.” (READ: ASEAN ignores ruling on South China Sea)
Yasay, for his part, vowed the “full implementation” of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a military deal between the Philippines and the US.
The EDCA aims to give the US greater access to Philippine military bases, as well as to enhance cooperation between the two countries in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, among other things.
Yasay also said the Philippines wants to work with the US against terrorism and other global issues. – Rappler.com