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US to honor Philippines commitments, expects same in return

Associated Press Associated Press 11/10/2016 By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia says the U.S. will honor its commitments to the Philippines and it expects its Southeast Asian ally to the do the same.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said the U.S. values the relationship and wants to keep it on an "even keel."

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (doo-TEHR'-tay) has announced steps to scale back military cooperation with the U.S. as he looks to improve relations with China. Duterte said Tuesday he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the U.S. but questioned its importance.

Russel said the U.S. has no problem with the Philippines discussing its territorial and maritime disputes with China if it is done on terms acceptable to the Philippines and consistent with international law.

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