Cayetano, Esperon meet with US counterparts
Senior members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet have flown to the United States and met with their counterparts amid criticisms of the government’s reaction to the harassment of Filipino fishermen by Chinese coast guards in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.
In a statement on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. briefed US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, on Thursday about the latest situation in the West Philippine Sea and other security-related issues.
On the other hand, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House in Washington.
“Our meeting with Ambassador Bolton provided us with an opportunity to discuss how we could work together to further strengthen our security alliance,” said Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.
Besides the West Philippine Sea issue, Romualdez said Esperon also discussed with Bolton the situation in the Korean Peninsula and concerns about terrorism.
Romualdez also said Cayetano handed to Pompeo a letter from President Duterte commending Trump for his historic meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
The visit of Esperon and Cayetano to Washington happened two weeks after the media reported that Chinese coast guards were harassing Filipino fishermen and seizing their prime catch in Panatag.
Cayetano had rejected calls to file a formal diplomatic protest, saying Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua’s assurance that Beijing would investigate the incident was enough.
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