WASHINGTON —€” The top US diplomat for East Asia says the US will honor its commitments to the Philippines and it expects its Southeast Asian ally to the do the same.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said the US values the relationship and wants to keep it on an "even keel."

President Rodrigo Duterte has announced steps to scale back military cooperation with the US as he looks to improve relations with China. Duterte said Tuesday he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the US but questioned its importance.

Russel said the US has no problem with the Philippines discussing its territorial and maritime disputes with China if it is done on terms acceptable to the Philippines and consistent with international law.


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