China supports Duterte's counter-terrorism efforts involving U.S. troops

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) — China supports the Duterte administration's counter-terrorism operations, its foreign ministry said. 

In a press conference Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang was asked about China's opinion on U.S. troops helping soldiers in Marawi.

"Terrorism is the common enemy faced by all mankind. China understands and firmly supports the efforts made by the Philippine government under the leadership of President Duterte in combating terrorism," he replied.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila disclosed on June 10 that U.S. special operations forces are assisting the Philippine military with the operations in Marawi "at the request of the Government of the Philippines."

"U.S. special operations forces have been providing support and assistance in response to Philippine government requests for many years," the statement stated.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines immediately denied reports of American troops fighting alongside Filipino government forces in Marawi.

Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera said U.S. assistance was limited to sharing of intelligence and technical support.

READ: No U.S. troops fighting alongside PH troops — PH military

"We in principle welcome constructive contributions from the international community on the basis of respecting the will of the Philippine government and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines," Lu Kang added. 

President Rodrigo Duterte had repeatedly denounced the United States and its supposed interference in Philippine affairs, before U.S. President Donald Trump won the elections.

In a speech in Vietnam in September 2016, Duterte said he wanted to stop the Philippine troops' war games with the U.S.

The three-week long crisis in Marawi City in Mindanao has taken the lives of hundreds, including government troops, civilians, and members of the local terror group Maute.

READ: High-noon salute for Marawi heroes