News / Asia

    New US Ambassador to Philippines Pushes for US Troop Rotation Agreement

    FILE - Then Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Philip Goldberg testifies before a full committee hearing, March 12, 2013.
    FILE - Then Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Philip Goldberg testifies before a full committee hearing, March 12, 2013.
    Simone Orendain
    The new United States ambassador to the Philippines said he hopes an agreement between the two countries to have more U.S. troop visits will be signed “as soon as possible.”
     
    Philip Goldberg presented his credentials to President Benigno Aquino on Monday morning in Manila. Afterwards, he made his pitch on state-run television for an agreement under negotiation that would see more visits from U.S. military forces to the Philippines.
     
    Goldberg said the ongoing typhoon relief operations by American forces are a good example of the kind of assistance that would be boosted by the agreement.
     
    “The ability to have that a little bit faster and more efficiently will always be of help. There are reasons to build minimal defense capability and maritime defense awareness. That will come with a framework agreement,” said Goldberg.
     
    Under the agreement, the U.S. is seeking access to areas in the Philippines where it could dock ships, land aircraft and store equipment. Talks between both parties came to a standstill in October after Philippine negotiators said they needed more time to study issues. The Philippines has reiterated that terms must comply with its constitution, which does not allow permanent basing by outside countries.
     
    The Philippines has said having more training opportunities with a visible American presence would help form a “minimum credible defense posture.” The Philippines is locked in a row with China over rocks and outcroppings in the South China Sea that are claimed by both nations.
     
    Last week, the Philippine foreign minister pressed for a conclusion to the talks, saying the U.S.’s humanitarian operations in the typhoon zone showed the need for such an agreement.
     
    Carl Baker with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said Goldberg’s first public statement “makes sense.”
     
    “It’s trying to send a message to the Filipinos that this isn’t just about U.S interests. That he’s there to serve Filipino interests as well as U.S. interests and this is one example of how they do that,” explained Baker.
     
    The U.S. had bases in the Philippines for nearly a century; the archipelago was a U.S. colony for half a century. However, domestic pressure saw the bases close in 1992. Baker said some special interest groups in the Philippines continue to voice opposition to any U.S. troop presence in the country.
     
    Baker also said that Goldberg’s arrival in Manila comes at a time that there is a high level of visibility of American forces here doing humanitarian work.
     
    Goldberg, a career diplomat, comes to the Philippines after a three-year stint as assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department’s intelligence and research bureau. Before that he was part of a team that oversaw sanctions against North Korea. Goldberg’s term as ambassador to Bolivia was cut short in 2008 after President Evo Morales expelled him, accusing him of spying for the opposition.
     
    Goldberg said the U.S. sees China’s demand that all aircraft identify themselves when flying in its declared airspace over the East China Sea as a move that will increase tensions and “create miscalculations.” China and Japan are in a heated dispute over islets in that sea.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora