US defense chief visiting PH next weekBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines—The head of US Department of Defense will visit the Philippines next week in a four-nation trip to Southeast Asia.
In a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will be in the country on August 29-30, the last of his itinerary of his eight-day tour.
Hagel visits the Philippines as it engages in talks with the US on a possible agreement granting American troops “increased rotational presence” here. The talks started last week.
The statement did not provide the agenda of his visit here.
Hagel will depart from the US on Aug. 22, and will begin his trip in Honolulu where he will meet US Pacific Command Commande Admiral Locklear and visit US Marines at Kaneohe Bay.
Secretary Hagel will then travel to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on Aug. 24-26 followed by Jakarta, Indonesia, the afternoon of Aug. 26 and Aug. 27.
From Jakarta, Secretary Hagel will go to Brunei on Aug. 27-29 to meet with defense counterparts from across the Asia-Pacific region.
On Aug. 28 in Brunei, Secretary Hagel will meet with ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Defense Ministers at their annual retreat. On Aug. 29, Secretary Hagel will participate in the ADMM-Plus meeting.
He will conclude his trip in Manila on Aug. 29-30 and return to Washington the evening of Aug. 30.