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US returns centuries old looted church bells to the Philippines
Three church bells stolen by US troops during the Philippine War in 1901 have finally been returned to the Southeast Asian country.
Filipinos have for decades been calling for the return of the Bells of Balangiga which first hung in a Catholic church in the Spanish-colonized Philippines.
After the island nation came under US control, Filipino guerrilla fighters killed 48 US soldiers which motivated the troops to seek revenge.
American troops stole the bells and followed orders to turn the area into a "howling wilderness" by killing every male citizen age 10 or older.
Sung Kim, the American ambassador to the Philippine government, told the New York Times that he hoped the gesture will improve relations between the two nations.
"It has been a very long road home.
"Many Filipinos and Americans worked tirelessly for decades to make today possible."
"Our relationship has withstood the tests of history and flourishes today."
Relations with the US have been strained since Rodrigo Duterte was elected president and he forged closer ties with China and Russia.
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