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‘Obama-Aquino talks sign of deepening cooperation’

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President Barack Obama meets with President Benigno Aquino III on the sidelines of the Asean and East Asia summit in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali, Indonesia. AP

WASHINGTON, DC—US President Barack Obama will welcome President Benigno Aquino III next month, the White House said on Friday, as the United States steps up support for an ally locked in disputes with China.

Obama will hold talks with Mr. Aquino at the White House on June 8, the latest sign of a growing alliance after a rare joint visit to Washington by the Philippines’ foreign and defense secretaries at the end of April.

“The Philippines is a longstanding friend and ally of the United States, and the President looks forward to discussing with President Aquino the close strategic, economic and people-to-people ties between our two countries, and our cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region,” a White House statement said.

“The two leaders will also discuss ways to deepen bilateral cooperation,” it said.

In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirmed Mr. Aquino’s June visit to Washington.

“In all likelihood, Philippine-China relations will be discussed during the meeting,” he said.

The Obama administration has put renewed focus on Southeast Asia, stepping up ties to the economically dynamic region where several countries are embroiled in territorial disputes with a growing China.

The Philippines has had particularly rocky relations with China. The two countries have both been posting nonmilitary ships in the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal to exert their claims over the group of rocks, reefs and small islands about 220 kilometers (132 miles) from the Philippines.

The Philippines says the shoal falls within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), giving it the right to exploit the natural resources in this area.

The US has been helping to upgrade the notoriously antiquated Philippine military and Mr. Aquino has agreed to let a greater number of US troops rotate through the country.

But both the Aquino and Obama administrations have said that they do not plan a permanent military presence in the Philippines, which would be a politically sensitive issue in the former US colony.

The Philippines and the US on April 30 conducted so-called “2+2”  talks between each other’s foreign and defense secretaries, where sovereignty issues between the Philippines and China were taken up.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin flew to the United States for the meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

The Department of National Defense said the meeting was intended to be a consultation on defense, security, political and economic policies between the two countries.

The DND said Clinton had proposed the ministerial consultation when she visited Manila last year for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States.

According to the DND, this was a sign of the deepening relations between the two allies. It said the meeting was the first of its kind in the history of Philippine-US relations, noting that the United States had this kind of consultation only with Japan and South Korea.

Clinton, following the 2+2 meeting, said the US would not be taking sides in the Panatag Shoal dispute but added that the US would continue to provide additional support for the Philippine military.

Violation of Unclos

Last Wednesday, during a hearing of the US Senate foreign relations committee, Clinton and two Democratic senators criticized China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Clinton said China’s claims in the strategic waterway exceeded what was permitted by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

Obama administration officials and top military leaders are pushing for the US to join the 30-year-old Unclos, warning that Washington’s failure to ratify Unclos weakened its support for US allies in the disputed waterway and put the US military at increasing risk of confrontation with China.

Clinton told the Senate committee hearing that as a nonparty to the Unclos treaty, the United States was ceding the legal high ground to China and putting itself on the defensive.

“We are not as strong an advocate for our friends and allies in the region as I would like us to be, and I don’t think that’s any place for the world’s preeminent maritime power to find ourselves,” she said.

China, which is among the more than 160 nations that are party to the convention that was concluded in 1982 and has been in force since 1994, has made expansive claims in the South China Sea based on ancient maps. AFP with Norman Bordadora and Tina G. Santos

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Tags: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III , Philippines-United States relations , US President Barack Obama , West Philippine Sea

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Zahl/1670371040 Steven Zahl

    Ancient Maps?  Mongolia should lay claim to Beijing.  They did own it for a time.

    • Russell Ariola

      Ancient maps?
      so is US property of England!

      the whole of arabian peninsula must also under the rule of greece because of Alexander the great made it in his maps. LOL!

      • Panzerjock

        Yeah, and Italy should own all of Western Europe, parts of Eastern Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, and half of England all because of “ancient maps” that the Romans had. Shows you just how full of sh*t those Chinese Commies are.

      • http://www.Nima.Co Nima Nojoumi

        Don’t forget the Persian Empire and it’s ancient maps. Based on China’s  theory the Persian’s own the entire middle east.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UHGXCNJID537JSNR2T6CH4JOKI david joseph

      No to mention some part of China are owned by Greece based on “ANCIENT MAPS”..

  • Russell Ariola

    Waahh.. next month pa?

    Sa susunod na linggo, yung Hundred Islands naman ang sasakupin ng China.

    Kasama daw sa 9-dash. Utos ng 25 na diktadores ng Chinese Politburo.

  • Pinoy_Reich

    My instinct tells me nothing will come out from this talks, a few promise here and there, speech and more speech meanwhile China just goes on grabbing islets, shoals and reefs left and right while the Philippines pathetically files up a Cabinet-full of protest to China.

    We’re in such a sad state, my Thailand co-worker sarcastically joked to me, “the Filipinos have their hopes dashed by their own white master. Good luck to your over sized patrol boat from Uncle Sam.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/dunklowb Tony Ck Tam

    US economy is on a downfall, I don’t believe US would take any risk against China for a poor country like Philippines, what can the US get out of this mass from Philippines is the real question here. You Philippinos are naive to believe that your American master will help you only out of good will. Of course, they will take something in return. Either way, it is a lose-lose situation if Philippines keep this going.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VYF2VMUGITZMGD2XFLVTJJKU7A juliabillmendoza


    • avmphil

      Tama na. The Paper Tigers (the Chinese) are famous to pound on unsuspecting victims when opportunity presents. When the US were still in Subic and Clark after Independence, the great China Chief Mao, continued propagating HIS brand of nationalistic favor throughout SE Asian countries with the support of his Diaspora. Many were brains washed. But some were realistic and stuck to their adapted land, Unlike the HUK and other CCP affiliates in this country. However, Beijing has to prove its miserable masses that the PARTY is in command. And that will be the downfall of China should this Scarborough Shoal spill blood. The ball is in Beijing’s court now. Suffice to say, Beijing picked at the wrong time and the wrong nation: the Philippines.

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

    ok pnoy
    same gameplan tayo
    tulad noong ww2

    kayo pa rin sasabak sa kaaway namin
    ngayon tsina naman

    bigyan kita
    mga patapon naming gamit

    habang sitting pretty kami
    thousands of miles away

    gud luk

  • avmphil

    Tama na. The Paper Tigers (the Chinese) are known to pound on unsuspecting victims when opportunity presents. When the US were still in Subic and Clark after Independence, the great China Chief Mao, continued propagating HIS brand of nationalistic favor throughout SE Asian countries with the support of his Diaspora. Many were brains washed. But some were realistic and stuck to their adapted land, Unlike the HUK and other CCP affiliates in this country. However, Beijing has to prove its miserable masses that the PARTY is in command. And that will be the downfall of China should this Scarborough Shoal spill blood. The ball is in Beijing’s court now. Suffice to say, Beijing picked at the wrong time and the wrong nation: the Philippines.

  • http://karmaeconomics.blogspot.com/ lavista4u

    This meeting shows..PH is well and truly an American puppet in South East Asia…For what The President is going to US…to thank Obama for sending boats without guns ..hahaha :o) or to keep its silence when China is taking all his Island one by one.

    All these double faced business man are greedy and go to US for their own means. PH 60:40 laws does not allow foreign investment directly as a result PH lacks in all areas. 

    Anyway, US is just a paper tiger with 45 million people on food stamps and 1 in 4 kid in American going hungry..Google it…in US they hide the poverty in PH due to its size it can’t…US is not longer a world power..its days are numbered….on world stage..China is the new evil empire…

    • avmphil

      You must be a China sympathize who is snooping behind the walls in Binondo and watching who comes marching to save you and your kind, if not, an anarchist waiting to tear this nation apart so that it gratifies your weird destructive thoughts. What do expect? The USA should send their Naval force and obliterate the Chinese navy? Just to prove to you and the likes of you: the US is still the most powerful force to reckon with. Come on, don’t be a little boy running to mama and scream “mama that big boy hit me…can you come and hit him”. Be a man, and man enough to face reality.

    • rguillermo

      lavista4u, in your dreams…Go to China and see by yourself the widespread poverty in other regions…with their huge population and territories, there are millions in poverty that the government does not care…they don’t have any voice at all.  then go to the US and you will compare…the poor in the US and Canada, they receive welfares from the govt. See it in your own eyes…to compare…

  • IanAlera

    BOYCOTT EVERYTHING made in China — people, products, language.

    People let us fight back, and take control of our economy from these chinese.

    BUY LOCAL, support local industries. The Philippine government should make it a priority to source primarily from Philippine suppliers, and from friendly countries.  BAN CHINA PURCHASES.

  • antoncervantesjr

    and all this will come to pass…

    like nothing happened at all…

    after the november 2012 elections in china.

    but we best make sure, we lose no territory till then…

    else we lose it forever.

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