Philippines leader wants Trump to return historic war trophies: report

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to ask President Trump to return three war trophies that U.S. troops took from a village more than 100 years ago during the Philippine-American War, according to CBS News. 

"We are aware that the Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines," a U.S. national security spokesman told CBS News.

 

"We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution," the spokesman added.

The nation has repeatedly called for the bells, which were taken by U.S. troops in retaliation for the "Balangiga massacre" in 1901, to be returned, calling them a part of the country's national heritage. 

Despite the Philippines gaining independence in 1946, the U.S. has yet to return the bells. One of them is located on a military base in South Korea, and the other two are on an Air Force base in Wyoming. 

Duterte raised the issue with Defense Secretary James Mattis in October, according to the network, which added that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has explored what can be done to ensure the bells are returned. 

The report comes after Duterte on Sunday welcomed Trump to the Philippines on his first official visit to the country. 

The visit presents Trump with an opportunity to confront Duterte on his human rights record. 

Duterte, who has long been a critic of the U.S., has been under fire by human rights groups for his government's war on drugs, which has taken the lives of thousands of Filipinos. 

The leader warned last Wednesday that he'll tell Trump to "lay off" the topic of human rights if Trump raises it during a summit in Manila.

Source: thehill

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