President Bush has welcomed Philippine President Gloria Arroyo to the White House, with ceremonial honors reserved for the most important of U-S allies.
Mrs. Arroyo and her husband are on a week-long visit to the United States. After arriving by limousine at the White House, the Philippine president was greeted by Mr. Bush, who escorted her to the South Lawn for a welcoming ceremony.
Later the two held talks in the president's Oval Office.
Afterwards, Mr. Bush said the United States will designate the Philippines as a major non-Nato ally. He said the designation will mean expanded military ties between the two countries in the fields of research and development, and will allow Manila greater access to American defense equipment and supplies.
Earlier, at the welcoming ceremony, Mrs. Arroyo mentioned the resolve of both countries to fight terrorism. She said terrorism will not be contained without a comprehensive approach for defeating it.
This is just the third state visit and White House banquet of Mr. Bush's presidency. The Philippine president has been one of the Bush administration's staunchest allies in the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. She was one of the first world leaders to call Mr. Bush and express condolences after the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Her visit comes just days after Ms. Arroyo ordered a military campaign against a Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose attacks have killed 200 people this year. The Philippine government has given the group two weeks to end hostilities or risk being classified as a terrorist organization.
Last year, the Philippine military waged a campaign against another Muslim rebel group, the Abu Sayyaf, during a six-month joint exercise with U-S Special Forces. U-S officials say more exercises are planned this year.