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U.S.-Philippines defense chiefs to discuss 'full range of security concerns'

Austin is expected to bring up Taiwan as China steps up pressure on Taipei

Expanding maritime security and military exercises will be on the agenda when U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets his Philippine counterpart on Thursday.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet with acting Philippine counterpart Jose Faustino Jr. in Hawaii on Thursday to discuss issues spanning the South China Sea and Taiwan.

Austin leaves Washington on Wednesday, with a stop in California before he departs for Hawaii. A senior defense official told reporters that Austin and Faustino will cover a "full range of our security concerns."

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