Secretary of State Clinton reaffirmed that Washington does not take sides in the rising conflict over sovereignty claims on the Scarborough Shoal. In a meeting of the two countries’ top diplomats and defense officials, the US proved its commitment to its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines. Co-operation on improvements to the Philippine navy, which has recently been described as in a poor state, means a second ship will be transferred this year. Defense Secretary Gazmin stated the need for a credible defense to “uphold maritime security and the freedom of navigation,” especially with tension rising over the islands in the South China Sea. Philippine officials also stressed diplomacy as the direction the country will be taking to resolve the issue in the South China Sea, emphasizing the importance of a peaceful resolution.

Source: Phillipine Daily Inquirer