News / Asia

Philippines Readies for Increased US Presence

U.S. Assistant Sec. of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (R), U.S. Assistant Sec. of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Mark Lippert (2nd R), Philippines ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia, Philippines Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio (L)  join hands during a joint news conference in Manila, December 12, 2012.
U.S. Assistant Sec. of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell (R), U.S. Assistant Sec. of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Mark Lippert (2nd R), Philippines ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia, Philippines Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio (L) join hands during a joint news conference in Manila, December 12, 2012.
—  Philippine and U.S. officials are working for closer diplomatic and defense ties between their countries. Simone Orendain reports from the Philippine capital the officials were meeting in Manila as North Korea launched a long-range rocket.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said the meeting Wednesday came up with “work plans” that will result in “stronger and closer cooperation between the two countries.”  The officials said they are looking for closer maritime, defense and economic ties, diplomatic engagement, and support for the rule of law.

The two countries have shared a mutual defense treaty for more than 50 years, under which U.S. troops have had some sort of presence in the Philippines.  

There were several U.S. military bases in the Philippines from 1898 until 1992. Since the countries signed a visiting forces agreement in 1999, U.S. military visits and port calls have been more frequent.

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Piolo Lorenzo Batino said those visits will include more training and exercises for the Philippine military. They would be geared towards maritime security, disaster and humanitarian activities.  

“There is a need to further flesh out all of these concepts for increased rotational presence. It is going to be a very significant development in our relationship,” said Batino.

The Philippines has said it wants to be in a better position to defend its claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei also have contesting claims, while China says nearly the entire sea is its domain.

A Philippine foreign affairs official said earlier this week the Philippines sees the United States as a party that can help to put it in a better position. While the United States maintains neutrality in the territorial disputes, it gives defense consultation to the Philippines according to terms of the Mutual Defense Agreement.

U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell who attended the talks said the two countries’ relationship is “on an upswing” and it has strengthened strategically, politically, economically and militarily in recent years. He emphasized a need for both countries to work as equal partners.  

Campbell also expressed gratitude to the Philippines over its reaction to Wednesday’s long-range rocket launch by North Korea.

“Let me also thank, if I can, the Philippine government, for its strong solidarity, standing with international community condemning the missile test that has been conducted by North Korea," said Campbell. "This is a provocative act.”

The Philippines’ presidential spokesman put out a statement saying it “strongly condemned” the launch, saying North Korea violated international law. The Philippines, which lies below the path of any southward rocket launched from North Korea “firmly urges” that country to “desist from provocative actions.”

The second stage of the rocket fell into waters 300 kilometers east of the Philippines’ northern-most province. The Office of Civil Defense said Navy and Coast Guard personnel went to inspect the area.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid