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US lawmakers back stronger ties with Philippines


WASHINGTON — US lawmakers backed Obama administration efforts Tuesday to forge a stronger relationship with the Philippines and said Congress soon would approve the transfer of a second ship to help the ally’s navy defend its waters.

Republican Representative Ed Royce told a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs hearing on US-Philippine relations that the congressional review process for transferring the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas will be finished this week, and the ship should soon be on its way to Manila. Another aging US cutter, the Hamilton, was transferred to the Philippines last May.

The US has sought to boost the Philippines’ ability to maintain its maritime security because of its ally’s concern over assertive Chinese behavior in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

While the United States has no territorial claims in the region, the top US diplomat for East Asia, Kurt Campbell, reiterated that the US has a national interest in such claims’ peaceful resolution and the freedom of navigation in seas that carry about a half the total tonnage of world trade.

Campbell said the US was considering a “reasonable” Philippine request also to transfer gear stripped from the Hamilton before it was handed over.

The US took the sensors from the ship before it was decommissioned, as well as its communications and electronics equipment, and close-in weapons system, which is used to detect and destroy at short range incoming anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft.

The ship, commissioned in 1967, was transferred under a program that offers “excess defense articles” to foreign partners in support of US national security and foreign policy objectives.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy said the Hamilton had completed on Monday its first patrol in the vicinity of the Spratly Islands.

Asked about possible Philippine acquisition of F-16 fighter jets, Lavoy was noncommital. He said the US was considering a range of military capabilities requested by Manila, and “affordability and sustainability” would be critical in evaluating them.

Campbell, who stressed the importance of stronger economic ties, spoke in gushing terms about the bilateral relationship with the Philippines, one of five US treaty allies in Asia.

“There’s no country in Asia that’s more welcoming to the United States, more supportive of a stronger relationship and more on our side, rooting for us every step of the way,” he said.

He described the Philippines’ president, Benigno Aquino III, as a person of “rare integrity” and lauded his efforts to fight corruption.

The two Republican lawmakers who spoke at the hearing supported administration efforts to strengthen ties. Royce said the Philippines had been largely ignored in US foreign policy in recent years, but that was starting to change.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, an arch critic of China, praised the joint US-Philippine efforts to fight Islamic militants in the southern Philippines. For the past decade, hundreds of US forces have helped equip and train Filipino forces there.

Rohrabacher described an air strike last week that killed a leader of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group, for which the US shared intelligence, as a victory against radical Islam.

“We need to stand as aggressively and as solidly with the Philippine government in confronting an aggressive, arrogant, expansionist China as we have in standing against radical Islam,” he said.


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Tags: Diplomacy , Foreign Affairs and International relations , Philippines-US ties , Politics , US lawmakers

  • Anonymous

    philippines-us relationship is already strong. what it means is more pressure to the philippines to distant itself from china and use the country as the US security guard in southeast asia. filipino-chinese businessmen should be wary of this US move now that they are hell-bent in starting another war in Iran and Syria. this war will surely spillover to china because iran is a major supplier of oil..a pretext to start war with china in an effort to write-off its trillion dollar US debt from china.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PDRFQZRK6QOIGLLW46ELFGYCNE deep

    NONCOMMITTAL - ISA LANG IBIG SABIHIN NYAN, BUMILI KAYO!!!! PURO KAYO HINGI HINGI TAPOS MAG RALLY LANG YUNG MGA ANIMAL NA KAMPON NI JOMA, TAKOT NA KAYO, GRANDSTANDING AGAD NA REREPASUHIN ANG VFA.

    PUNTA KAYO SA CHINA DOON KAYO MANGHINGI.

    IPUSH NYO KAYA ANG IMPLEMENTATION NG 15 YEAR 300 BILLION MODERNIZATION, NOONG 1995 PA YAN EH…GRADE 6 PA AKO NYAN…

    MULTIYEAR COMMITMENT YAN MGA SER, PARANG CREDIT LETTER BA, COURTESY OF BSP o Bureau of Treasury.

    ALAM NAMIN SA WALA SA KAMAY NG DND YAN, PERO AT LEAST YAN ANG IPUSH NYO PUBLICLY PARA MABUO ANG PUBLIC OPINION, MAPAG USAPAN, MAPAG DEBATEHAN…

    KASO PATI KAYO TAHIMIK DIN EH…

    Para maka pang scout tayo sa ibang bansa, makabili ng gamit in bulk.

    At sa ganun pwede pa dito i manufacture yung mga gamit na yan dahil bulk order tayo.

     

     

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    walk your talk guys
    come live in the philippines
    para pag gerra ng u.s. – tsina
    huwag kayong atakbo-sa-u.s.
    tulad ni atkbo-sa-australia mcarthur

    paastig astig sa salita
    pag nandyan na ang ginawang gerra
    ATAKBO NA

    pa coy coy pa sa f-16
    to get more concessions
    usaf is standing down
    one f-16 squadron
    dahil ubos na pera sa iraq at afghanistan
    ito ang ibebenta nila
    there’s money in trash

    ito ang reward ng mga
    u.s. collaborators sa
    1. malakanyang
    2. dept of foreign affairs – actually, recolonization
    3. dept of defense – actually, reintegration to u.s. command and control

  • Anonymous

    joboni96- you are full of it. Let us make it guerra ni joboni96-china. Ang armas niya a isang baril at dalawang bala sa singit niya. Hindi niya kailangan ang tulong kahit sino man-ha-ha-ha. Ni nahawak yata ng tunay na baril, ngayon magsalita ng guerra. Forgive him for he knows not what he is babbling.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYITA5V33GYZSLC3G37UCVNTKA Ben

    I would really appreciate if the DFA and the Philippine military attache working to gain this piece of technology to make an effort to keep all the armaments of the original cutters, it may be fast, but once it has to face a real threat in a stand off, how can it defend itself in a duel? without the Harpoon anti-ship missile and The Phalanx CIWS  anti-ship missile defense system and it`s anti-submarine warfare capability this ship is a sitting duck if cornered.
     
    The government should also issue the FIM-92 Stinger a personal portable infrared homing surface to air missile (SAM) to the defenders of our island territories in there, and for our sitting duck oil platforms as well as part of defensive armaments for our other vintage vessels such as the landing craft or transport vessels.
     
     
    To really boost our confidence, we should develop our government research team such as in the DOST-DND and learn to reverse engineer our aging F-5 or at least develop our industrial capability to engineer and manufacture basic aircraft engine to be sold to individual owners or aircraft manufacturers, with crank case and crank shaft we can supply the aircraft industry with cheap generic engines and even supply our own defense spare parts need and at the same time increase our technology driven industrial growth, our vintage military vessels structure and designs and even the engine use for the propeller should also be reversed engineer by our experts…if if we have those….it can start up new industries that can support the next generations of Filipinos and create a domestically made technology. We should fund our government and or private universities to develop their capability as well as develop manpower that can create industrial revolution in this country, rather than producing so much health care workers only to end up without jobs or just become a call center agents and also rather than churning out too many lawyers who make this country so complicated having the most laws to guide our society, but ending up having to create more laws to keep up with the sophistication of the masses and graft and corrupt because lawyers are adept in finding loopholes in interpreting the law. The basic constitution is the source of this all and that is resisted being revised or amended to hopefully to keep it current with our complicated time.
     
    The government should fund research and development by the DOST and or the state or privately run universities, but this should be secured from spies, the secrecy involved to keep the technology will help keep our country`s success guaranteed so what ever is developed will be out of reach by those whose aim is to sabotage it or counter it`s capability. 



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