- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
- Family removed from Southwest flight over tweet about rude agent, dad says
- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
Obama, Aquino hail growing U.S.-Philippine alliance
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and the Philippines said Friday they are expanding intelligence sharing and cooperation on maritime security, as President Obama reiterated Washington’s desire to be viewed as a Pacific power.
Mr. Obama met in the Oval Office with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III against the backdrop of a two-month standoff between Philippine and Chinese vessels at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.
China’s assertive behavior in those waters has served to bolster Manila’s 60-year alliance with Washington, which thrived during the Cold War but ebbed after nationalist political forces prompted the closure of American military bases in 1992.
The security and military cooperation with the Philippines “is a reminder to everybody that the United States considers itself, and is, a Pacific power,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Aquino, the son of democracy heroes, has emerged as a willing partner of the U.S. as it looks to build a stronger presence in Southeast Asia, a region neglected during a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two sides are discussing how to enhance the U.S. military presence in the Philippines, beyond the decade-long counterterrorism training mission in the country’s south that involves hundreds of American troops.
The U.S. and the Philippines are bound by a mutual defense treaty. The Philippines has been seeking a clear public statement that the U.S. would come to its defense should it face attack.
The U.S. has restricted itself to saying it would honor its obligations under the treaty. No further statement was forthcoming Friday, and neither leader mentioned China.
At a lunch hosted earlier for Mr. Aquino at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed an easing of the tensions at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the past week, as China and the Philippines withdrew some vessels from a lagoon at the center of the standoff. She reiterated U.S. interest in peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea.
“The United States has been consistent in that we oppose the use of force or coercion by any claimant to advance its claims, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Mr. Obama made a sidelong reference to the South China Sea dispute.
“We have a strong set of international norms and rules governing maritime disputes in the region,” Mr. Obama said.
Mrs. Clinton said the U.S. and the Philippines are working closely to increase information and intelligence exchanges and coordination on maritime domain issues. She announced the U.S. will support the construction and training of a National Coast Watch Center to help the Philippines monitor its coastline.
Mr. Aquino, who has presided over an improvement in the Philippine economy, has sought Washington’s help in rebuilding a decrepit military that is in little shape to defend its territorial claims. Mr. Obama reaffirmed U.S. support for helping the Philippines build a “minimum credible defense posture.”
Last month, the U.S. handed to the Philippines a second Coast Guard cutter following the transfer last year of a similar 45-year-old vessel that has since become a flagship in the Philippine navy as the island nation increasingly focuses on its maritime security. Close U.S. ally Japan also reportedly is preparing to supply the Philippines with 10 new, smaller patrol vessels.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq