MANILA, Philippines – The highest ranking officer in the United States Armed Forces is on a two-day visit to the Philippines amid a territorial dispute between this key ally in the Asia Pacific region and China.
The United States Embassy in Manila announced on Sunday, June 3, that General Martin Dempsey, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in the Philippines to “meet with senior military and civilian leadership” up to June 4, Monday.
“As treaty allies, the United States and the Republic of the Philippines routinely consult and exchange views on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, reflecting our common values and interests,” according to the embassy statement.
It said Dempsey, 60, made the Manila visit after he participated in the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear and representatives from across Asia.
The United States will shift the majority of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta told the summit in Singapore on June 2.
The Philippines has sought the support of the U.S. amid a months-long standoff with China at the Scarborough shoal a few kilometers west of the Philippines in the South China sea. – Rappler.com