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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora