The Philippines has asked the United States to hold joint naval patrols, a defense ministry spokesman said on Thursday, amid a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.
Foreign and defense ministers from the United States and the Philippines met in Washington this week for the second time in more than three years to discuss trade and security, focusing on the South China Sea.
"We are suggesting that we also patrol the area together," Peter Paul Galvez told reporters in Manila. "There is a need for a more collaborative presence in the South China Sea."
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus underscored the importance of the U.S.-Philippine relationship, but declined to comment on the Philippine request for joint patrols.
A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Bill Urban, said the United States engaged "in numerous joint defense activities" year round with its ally, including exercises, capacity building, training, and intelligence sharing.