News / Asia

In Philippines, Kerry Hopes for Progress on Troop Deal

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flashes the thumbs-up sign as he arrives at Manila's International Airport, Philippines on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flashes the thumbs-up sign as he arrives at Manila's International Airport, Philippines on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels on Tuesday to the Philippines, where Washington is negotiating a deal to expand its military presence.

The trip follows a stop in Vietnam, where Kerry pledged over $32 million to help Southeast Asian countries protect their territorial waters amid tensions with China.

Kerry denied the new assistance is in response to aggressive Chinese maritime behavior, adding that the U.S. supports diplomacy, not unilateral actions, in resolving the disputes.

"Peace and stability in the South China Sea is a top priority for us and for countries in the region. We are very concerned by and strongly opposed to coercive and aggressive tactics to advance territorial claims," said Kerry.

Under the deal, the U.S. will provide Vietnam $18 million, including five fast patrol boats for its Coast Guard. Others in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will receive $14.5 million.

In Manila, Kerry hopes to use his meetings on Tuesday with Philippine leaders to make progress on a deal allowing more U.S. troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the country.

On Wednesday, Kerry will tour areas hit last month by Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands of people and prompted a massive, military-led humanitarian response by the United States.

The U.S. spent millions of dollars and sent an aircraft carrier group and a thousand Marines to help its former colony recover from the typhoon, an effort many analysts said could help lead to closer defense ties.

Manila is involved in a bitter dispute with China over territory in the South China Sea. Following a weeks-long standoff last year, the Philippines lost control of an uninhabited, but strategic, reef in the area.

China also has disputes with other nations in the region, including Vietnam, in the South China Sea, which contains rich fishing grounds, vital shipping lanes and vast untapped energy deposits.

During his trip, Kerry has continued to insist that the U.S. does not take sides in the disputes, even while he has expanded military cooperation with China's neighbors and warned against Chinese aggressiveness.

On Monday, Kerry again said China should not implement its new Air Defense Identification Zone, which includes disputed areas claimed by Japan and South Korea, in the East China Sea. He also said Beijing "should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere, particularly in the South China Sea."

The U.S. has refused to recognize the Chinese zone. It has run B-52 bombers on what were described as routine training missions that deliberately ignored Chinese demands to submit flight plans and identify themselves.

The incidents have raised fears of a military clash. Those fears were heightened earlier this month when U.S. officials said one of its ships, the USS Cowpens, nearly collided with a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea.

The U.S. military says its ship, operating in international waters, was forced to take evasive action to avoid hitting the Chinese vessel, which was traveling with China's new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. There has been no official comment from China on the incident.

China has steadily increased its military spending and naval activity in recent years, but says its efforts are aimed only at peace and protecting its territory. It views the renewed U.S. military presence in Asia as an effort to contain it, an accusation Washington denies.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs