MANILA, July 20 (Xinhua) -- A high-ranking U.S. official said on Tuesday that he is "encouraged" by the emphasis of President Benigno Aquino on human rights protection and hopes that the Philippines will improve its record on this under his leadership.
U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs William Burns told reporters after a courtesy call on Aquino that his visit emphasizes "the high priority that President Barack Obama attaches at this important moment, at the very beginning of a new administration of the Philippines, to our long standing partnership with your country."
When asked, Burns said he reiterated the invitation of President Obama for Aquino to visit the U.S.
"I certainly did reiterate President Obama's invitation as he had earlier conveyed to the President in their phone conversation and in their correspondence and we look forward to that at an early opportunity. I think it gives us both a chance to underscore the significance of our partnership and the ways in which we can expand upon it," he said.
He said the Philippine president informed him about his " ambitious set of priorities", namely poverty alleviation, health, education, and job creation.
In turn, he stressed that "the U.S. wants to do everything we can to help make progress in all of those areas that are so important to creating a better future for the people of the Philippines."