29 April 2014

US Renewed Commitment to PHL

Obama in Manila
The United States has renewed its commitment to support the Philippines by agreeing to a 10-year agreement that will give American warships, planes and troops greater access to bases in the archipelago.

The deal, which was welcomed by majority of Filipinos, was the centerpiece when President Barrack Obama visited the Philippines on 28 April 2014 The agreement will also mark the return of a sizeable American military presence in the country for the first time since the American military gave up its sprawling naval and air bases, including one at Subic Bay, in 1992.

The accord will also give the United States more flexibility to project its military assets in a region that has become increasingly tense, with China and its neighbors, including the Philippines, squabbling over territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.

President Obama said the deal was not intended to contain China, with whom Manila is embroiled in a bitter territorial row, but it was obvious that he backed Manila's move to seek UN arbitration over its maritime dispute with Beijing.

"Our goal is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China. Our goal is to make sure international rules and norms are respected and that includes in the area of international disputes," he said.

Under the agreement, the US will have better access to military bases, ports and airfields. US troops would rotate through these facilities and engage in joint training, officials said.

"We'll work together to build the Philippines' defense capabilities and work with other nations to promote regional stability such as in the South China Sea," President Obama said.