Talks on expanding U.S. aid for the Philippine fight against terrorism in its restive southland would help bring the two countries closer after a fractious period marked by Manila’s new friendship with Beijing, analysts said.
The U.S. Department of State sent a representative to Manila this week to discuss a three-year program that would help local officials pick out and solve problems that might spark extremist reactions among Muslims around the southern island of Mindanao.
U.S. officials held “productive meetings with our Philippines partners on countering violent extremism and supporting our enduring alliance,” tweeted Denise Natali, assistant secretary of state for conflict and stabilization.
Additional aid for countering extremists, including Islamic State backers, will bring the Philippines and the United States closer after three years of questions raised by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendship with China and public condemnations of U.S. assistance.
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