‘Rebalancing’ of US forces in PH tackled by Gazmin, US defense official

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US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. Ashton Carter, meets up with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Tuesday at Camp Aguinaldo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Department of National Defense

MANILA, Philippines—A senior official from the United States met with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin Tuesday morning at Camp Aguinaldo to discuss, among other things, the presence of US forces in the country.

The meeting is part of US Deputy Secretary of Defense’s, Dr. Ashton Carter, four-nation visit from March 17 to 21 for a series of consultations.

Part of the meeting included the discussion of “rebalancing” of US forces in the region.

“Ang rebalance na sinasabi nila, it’s a broad approach and a broad engagement of region, so tatamaan tayo in several aspects, economic, s’yempre isa na d’yan economic, tourism. Hindi ko lang sure yung mga scientific, yung mga technologies mga ganun, pero syempre other than the defense ang ano dyan yung engagement natin sa kanila is free, yung mga ganun, yun ang mga gusto nilang mangyari, parang mutually beneficial (What they mean about rebalance is that it’s a broad approach and a broad engagement of region, but it will cover several aspects, life economic and tourism. I’m not sure about scientific, the technologies, those things, but other than the defense, the thing is, the engagement with them is free. That’s what they want to happen, mutually beneficial),” Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez told reporters.

Last year, the United States announced they are moving 60 per cent of US Navy Fleet in Asia by 2020.

In a separate news release, the Department of National Defense that “frequent and energized” consultations are seen in the coming months to boost defense cooperation between two countries.

“The visits are a good way for us to strengthen our personal relationships with the people we usually work with. Both the Philippines and the United States will benefit with our frequent and energized consultations with our US counterpart,” Gazmin said.

Both officials also discussed in the meeting that lasted less than an hour the “central role” of the Philippines in the region and how to promote and enhance the existing peace and stability, the US support to the Philippine military’s capability upgrade and training of its personnel.

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