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U.S. Defense Secretary Reassures Philippines Counterpart the Alliance Is ‘Ironclad’

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, provided fresh assurances to his Filipino counterpart Gilberto Teodoro Jr. that Washington stands ready to support Manila should tensions escalate with Beijing over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The two defense chiefs spoke by phone on Wednesday, less than a week after a violent confrontation occurred near the Second Thomas Shoal, where China Coast Guard ships used high-powered water cannons against a Philippines resupply vessel.

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