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Malacañang summons U.S. envoy over intel report

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday, February 23, said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea summoned US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim over the report by US intelligence agencies classifying President Rodrigo Duterte as a "regional threat."

Malacañang said the meeting took place on Thursday, February 22. 

In a statement Friday, February 23, the US embassy said, "Ambassador Kim explained the nature of the report – an annual assessment on conditions in each of the world's various regions based on widely available information."

"Their discussion focused on the references to the Philippines in the report, including clarifying that the information about the Philippines had been previously reported by media sources," the embassy added.

The report, called a Worldwide Threat Assessment, said Duterte is a "regional threat" in Southeast Asia, as he suggests declaring a revolutionary government and imposing nationwide martial law. 

The report was issued by the US Intelligence Community on February 13. The US Intelligence Community is a group of 17 agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), that conduct intelligence activities to help in their country's foreign affairs and to protect their national security.

Kim met with Medialdea as the US seeks to repair its ties with the Philippines. Duterte has repeatedly slammed the US for supposedly interfering in his war on drugs.

Without elaborating, the US embassy said Kim and Medialdea "discussed shared interests and possibilities for expanding our partnership."

"The United States will continue to collaborate with the government of the Philippines. The meeting ended with both Executive Secretary Medialdea and Ambassador Kim reaffirming the strength of the broad and deep bilateral relationship," the embassy added. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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