US envoy upbeat after presenting credentials to Duterte
MANILA — United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said on Tuesday that mutual respect would help ensure and maintain stability in the decades-long relationship between the Philippines and the United States.
Kim had an hour-long “substantive” discussion with President Duterte after presenting his credentials on Tuesday, and expressed eagerness to start working to expand the two countries’ relationship and engage in “many areas of mutual interest.”
He also thanked the President, and the Filipino people, for the “warm” welcome to him.
The ambassador described the US’ ties with the Philippines as “one of America’s most enduring partnerships,” and said he was honored to have the chance to contribute to this.
“This important relationship is of course based on mutual respect. I am confident that our mutual respect, combined with the close ties and shared history and values, will ensure stability in our relationship over the long term and the years and decades to come,” he said in a press briefing.
Kim said there has been a “deep bond” between the Philippines and the US, as well as extensive economic ties with potential for growth.
“There is indeed tremendous ‘kalooban,’ the extraordinary spirit, warmth and strength in our relationship,” he said.
“In addition to our close friendship and, of course, our strong alliance, we have strong economic ties that are long-standing and extensive, and enthusiastic about the potential to grow our two-way economic partnership,” he added.
Kim also said he has been looking forward to exploring the Philippines, “from the rolling hills of Batanes, to the beaches of Tawi-Tawi and to experience Philippines’ rich culture.”
Kim’s arrival to the Philippines comes as Mr. Duterte softens his earlier strident tone against the US.
Mr. Duterte had lashed out at the US and at President Barack Obama for expressing concern over the drug-related killings in the country and for supposedly threatening to withdraw aid to the country.
He had lamented that the US was treating the Philippines like a dog on a leash that it was taunting with a treat.
But after Donald Trump won the US elections in November, Mr. Duterte said he did not want to quarrel with the US anymore. Malacañang had said there could be a reboot of the relationship between the two countries. SFM
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