Jun 052013
A ranking United States military officer is set to visit the Philippines this week to consult with defense authorities “on a range of common security challenges,” but no media event was scheduled.

According to a statement from the US Embassy in Manila on Wednesday, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, commander of the US Pacific Command (USPACOM), will be in Manila on Thursday and Friday.

Prior to his scheduled arrival, Locklear attended the annual Shangri-la Dialogue security conference in Singapore where he met with Asia-Pacific defense officials.

In June last year, Locklear accompanied General Martin Dempsey, the highest-ranking general in the US military, to meet President Benigno Aquino III, also after attending the Shangri-la Dialogue.

The following month, Locklear paid a courtesy call on Aquino to talk about maritime and regional security, as well as the US-Philippine bilateral defense alliance.

Locklear’s personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal with one gold star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with four gold stars, Bronze Star Medal, and numerous individual, Campaign and Unit awards.

The US and Philippines are allied by a 1951 mutual defense treaty. In the early 1990s US forces vacated Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, two large facilities used during the Vietnam War, after a disagreement over rents.
In recent years the Philippines has been seeking to improve its defense ties with the US amid a festering territorial dispute with China over parts of the South China Sea.
Some of its facilities are being used in ongoing annual joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US, where the Pentagon deployed a dozen F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.
More than 8,000 Filipino and US troops are taking part in the 12-day drills which end on Wednesday. Gian Geronimo/KBK, GMA News

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