Soldiers of the Philippines and the US in a joint exercise (Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines and the US have agreed to conduct 261 joint military activities next year, as the Philippines is pursuing warmer relations with its ally, a high-ranking Philippine officer announced on October 5.

General Eduardo Ano, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters after his meeting with Chief of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris in Hawaii last week that Manila and Washington have recognised the importance of the joint military activities in confronting security threats facing the region, including terrorism.

He affirmed that two sides have agreed to conduct 261 joint military activities compared to 258 activities this year, adding that the joint exercises in 2018 will focus on counterterrorism, territorial defence and disaster response.

[Philippine, US troops launch joint anti-terrorism exercise]

The announcement was made after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last week called for warmer ties with the US.

President Duterte also highly appreciated the US government for helping Manila in the fight against pro-Islamic State (IS) militants in the southern city of Marawi.

The US deployed a P-3 Orion spy plane and provided other intelligence inputs for the Philippine forces trying to retake the city in the clash, which has left more than 900 people dead since May.-VNA