Kerry affirms US-Philippines alliance after sea ruling

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2016 11:37 AM

US Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo by Noel Celis, AFP

MANILA - The United States affirmed its alliance with the Philippines after an international court invalidated Beijing's vast claims to the South China Sea in favor of Manila, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday.

The Philippines is a "very special partner to the US," with the two countries bound by a Mutual Defense Treaty, Kerry said at the start of a meeting with his Filipino counterpart, Perfecto Yasay.

"There are strong values, strong interests that unite us and even when there are times of tensions and stress as we've seen in South China Sea, I know we can count on you and you know you can count on us to always sit down and always try to talk honestly and directly together, " he said.

Kerry had said that he favored discussions between the Philippines and China, who refused to recognize the landmark ruling of the United Nations-backed court based in the Hague.