MANILA - Besides information on the alleged threats from North Korea and China, United States defense officials were also apprised of the conflict in Sabah during a meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
Del Rosario met with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in the Pentagon on Tuesday.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the officials “discussed US capacity building to support the armed forces of the Philippines modernization plans and regional security issues including the South China Sea, recent violence in Sabah, and North Korea.”
A civil society group earlier decided to bring to the United Nations the conflict in Sabah amid alleged inaction of Philippine government officials.
Harry Roque, one of the petitioners, said Tuesday: “Fortunately, [civil society organizations] will move to protect and promote the human rights of Filipinos in Sabah especially when our government has failed in this regard. Human right, after all, has ceased to be a purely domestic issue and is now a concern for the international community.”
Little did not provide information on what was discussed regarding Sabah.
Del Rosario earlier met with new US Secretary of State John Kerry, who committed anew US support for the initiatives of the Philippines.
“Our ability to deter threats or provocation is an important part of this cooperation. In this context, we discussed our joint efforts to build the capacity of the Philippines to defend its territory and people. We also exchanged views on the implementation of our agreed policy of increased rotational presence and enhanced exercises,” del Rosario said regarding his meet with Kerry.
This was also reiterated by the Pentagon officials. “The secretary said he was pleased with the progress being made toward an increased rotational presence for the US military in the Philippines,” Little said.