WASHINGTON, July 10 (KUNA) — US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and his counterpart Delfin Lorenzana of Philippines held bilateral discussions via phone Sunday, the Pentagon said.
The two sides are currently awaiting a ruling from the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague on July 12th regarding Philippines claims in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said in a statement.
They agreed to consult closely as the ruling is announced, the Pentagon noted, adding that Carter invited Lorenzana to visit Washington early in his tenure to discuss ways to continue deepening and enhancing their defense cooperation.
Manila had taken China to court in a bid to reclaim illegally occupied sea areas.
US Navy destroyers have been patrolling some of China’s man-made islands in these disputed areas, but staying in international waters, a report in the Navy Times said last week. (end)