Trump's top security aide hails global cooperation in Marawi
MANILA, Philippines – US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hailed the global cooperation in Marawi against local armed groups linked with international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS).
McMaster said the engagements should be replicated in addressing other threats such as "rogue regimes like North Korea." (READ: Trump Asia tour to focus on actions 'short of war' vs North Korea)
"We saw with the recent campaign in the Philippines in Mindanao and Marawi how important it is to work together," McMaster told Asian journalists on Thursday, November 2. Rappler obtained a transcript of the interview.
"We also recognize – with the efforts to deny ISIS and other terrorist groups safe haven and support bases, especially in Syria and Iraq – that we have to be prepared for the ISIS threat or other terrorist groups moving elsewhere including into Southeast Asia, for example," McMaster said.
The US, the Philippines' treaty ally, provided the Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence, urban warfare training, and drones throughout the war that dragged for 5 months. (READ: U.S. crucial to beating ISIS in the Philippines, says ambassador)
The US flew its P3 Orion surveillance planes, for example, to help locate the enemies. Australia, which has a defense agreement with the Philippines, also flew its P3 Orions.
Neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia also teamed up with the Philippines to launch trilateral patrol operations against militants in their porous borders.
China, for its part, donated rifles to the Philippine military, but these were turned over to the police who assisted in operations in Marawi.
Trump will visit the Philippines in the middle of November for the Asean Summit. He will meet for the first time with President Rodrigo Duterte who threatened to scrap ties with the superpower during the administration of Barack Obama, a critic of his war on drugs. (READ: Duterte's pivot to China won't be easy for Americanized PH military)
The Philippines will be the last leg of Trump's Asia tour, where he is expected to focus on asking leaders in the region to expand diplomatic and economic sanctions against North Korea in a bid to force the country to abandon its nuclear weapon ambitions.
Trump will also visit Japan, South Korea, China, and Vietnam.