News / Asia

US-Philippines Defense Deal to Improve Asia Security

Philippine Defense Deal Caps Obama Asia Touri
X
Luis Ramirez
April 28, 2014 5:57 PM
President Barack Obama is completing a four-country tour of Asia, where he reassured allies in the region of U.S. support in the face of China's growing influence. At his final stop, Manila, Obama welcomed the signing of a new defense agreement with the Philippines. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez is traveling with the president and has this report.
Philippine Defense Deal Caps Obama Asia Tour
Luis Ramirez
U.S. President Barack Obama concluded his weeklong visit to Asia with the signing of a landmark defense agreement with the Philippines that will allow U.S. troops access to Philippine bases.

The sound of a military band and a ground-shaking 21-cannon salute greeted Obama's upon his arrival at Manila's Malacanang Palace.

The president is ending his Asia visit on a high note. Eight months of negotiations with the Philippine government culminated with the signing Monday of a deal that will allow for the largest rotation of U.S. troops into the country since U.S. bases here closed more than two decades ago.
  • President Barack Obama speaks to military troops at Fort Bonifacio, saying a new military pact signed with the Philippines on Monday, April 27 granting a larger presence for U.S. forces would bolster the region's maritime security, Manila, April 29, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama states during a joint news conference with President Benigno Aquino III, that a 10-year agreement signed Monday, April 27, will give the U.S. military greater access to Philippine bases, helping to promote peace and stability in the region, Malacanang Palace, Manila, April 28, 2014. 



     
  • Police use a water cannon on "Bayan Muna" (My Country First) activists who tried to march to the U.S. embassy protesting President Barack Obama's visit, Manila April 29, 2014. 
  • The tail section of Air Force One is pictured on the tarmac at Elmendorf Air Force Base outside Anchorage, Alaska, as President Barack Obama stayed onboard during a refuel stop on his return to the United States from Asia, April 29, 2014. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama, center, stands to speak as he attends a state dinner with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
  • Philippine activists pull barbed wire fence as they try to go near the Malacanang Palace during a rally to oppose the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and U.S., Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
  • An activist holds a protest sign near the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama is welcomed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama and Japan's Empress Michiko attend a welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama and ASIMO, an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, bow to each other during a youth science event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.

The deal, known as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, will enable U.S. forces to train and conduct exercises with the Philippine military.  

At a joint news conference with Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Obama said the agreement is not about returning U.S. troops permanently, nor is it about dominating this country that it once ruled.

“I want to be very clear. The United States is not trying to reclaim old bases or build new bases," he noted. "At the invitation of the Philippines, American service members will rotate through Filipino facilities.”

The president also said a new security agreement signed with the Philippines is not meant to "counter" or "control" China. He said the United States has a constructive relationship with China and "our goal is to make sure international rules and norms are respected, and that includes in the area of international disputes."

China and the Philippines have competing maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency called the move "particularly disturbing as it may embolden Manila in dealing with Beijing." Xinhua said by striking a defense deal with the United States, the Aquino administration intends to "confront China with U.S. backing."

The subject of U.S. troops on Philippine soil is a touchy one for many here, and the agreement sparked violent protests by left-wing activists ahead of the American president's arrival.

U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg told an audience at the signing ceremony the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will "promote peace and security in the region."

Goldberg emphasized no U.S. bases would be built in the Philippines.

"A commitment to democratic governance and international law, the mutuality of benefits for both nations as we develop our individual and collective defense capacities, respect for Philippine sovereignty over all locations covered under the agreement, and the understanding that the United States does not intend to establish a permanent military presence in the Philippines,'' he said.

Details of agreement

U.S. officials say the framework agreement is for 10 years, and will allow the U.S. to rotate - but not base - troops, air, and naval resources at Philippine military facilities.  The troops will train and conduct exercises with Philippine forces on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime security, and other missions.

The Philippine government signed the agreement in the face of China's increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea, where the Chinese and the Philippines have competing maritime and territorial claims.

The Philippines is shifting its defense strategy to turn its focus from internal security missions to external missions. The U.S. says the new defense deal will allow American forces to help the Philippines build up its deterrence capabilities and that the agreement is not about containing China, but about equipping its Philippine allies to face a range of threats. 

The deal does not establish how many troops can rotate into the country at any given time.

The Philippines is the final stop for Obama, who also visited Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia on a trip aimed primarily at reassuring allies that the United States stands by its commitments to help defend them.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
April 28, 2014 11:11 AM
A lot of Filipinos remember (with pain and humiliation), the brutal US occupation forces of the Philippines, where hundreds of thousands of innocent Filipinos died under US occupation, and the US "Unequal Treaties" forced upon them by gunpoint....
NEVER again, does the Filipinos want the US occupation forces stationed on Philippine land....
In Response

by: alan svile from: US
April 28, 2014 2:50 PM
I guessed Philippines have no choice but to stick with the U.S. instead with china's aggressive grabbing attols and reefs inside the Philippine territory for oil and gas exploration.. China's so called 9 dash line overlapping to Philippines 200 Nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone and to other Asean Nations is un-acceptable to the world.
Philippines would be better off with the U.S.A. than China, period which is a great news for both USA and the Philippines..
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
April 28, 2014 2:22 PM
"Details of agreement
U.S. officials say the framework agreement is for 10 years, and will allow the U.S. to rotate - [BUT NOT BASE] - troops, air, and naval resources at Philippine military facilities. The troops will train and conduct exercises with Philippine forces on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime security, and other missions."

Did you even bother to read the article and pay attention to what they agreeing on , did you see the phrase [BUT NOT BASE] . I would say right now, a lot of Filipinos want the US present to counter the Chinese encroaching & stealing of their islands

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs