KO OLINA, Hawaii – Defense Secretary Ash Carter is meeting in Hawaii with his counterparts from 10 Southeast Asian nations, even as U.S. relations with the Philippines grow shakier.
Carter said in opening comments to the meeting Friday that he wants to encourage more regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific on many key security issues. He also cited concerns about Islamic extremism in Asia and problems linked to the Islamic State group.
A more immediate issue not mentioned by Carter in his formal remarks is a steep deterioration in relations with the Philippines.
In a speech earlier this week in San Diego, Carter called the U.S.-Philippines relationship "ironclad."
But that seeming closeness is in decline. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week said he will end joint military exercises of Filipino and American troops.