Obama visit seen to boost security ties mid China row

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SMILES AT THE SUMMITRY Presidents Aquino and Obama are photographed here in the 2011 Asean Summit in Bali, Indonesia. They will meet again at the 2013 Apec, and on Oct. 11-12 here in Manila, which the US president is visiting for the first time. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—US President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines early next month will help expand security ties with the United States’ longtime Asian ally and former colony, the government said Saturday.

Obama’s Philippine visit, the first by a US president since George Bush in 2003, is part of a four-nation Asia tour that includes Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia from Oct. 6 to 12.

The US president will be visiting the Philippines from Oct. 11 to 12 on the invitation of President Aquino, said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.

Malacañang said it could not provide any more details of the Obama visit, which was announced by the White House early Saturday.

Obama’s long-anticipated visit to the country will “bring new impetus” to the ties between the United States and the Philippines, a former US colony that is now one of its strongest Asia-Pacific allies, said Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

“The visit of President Obama highlights the continuous strengthening of our two countries’ strategic partnership and enduring alliance, fortified by our shared history and our common commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy,” Del Rosario said in a text message.

“President Obama will meet President Aquino to discuss ways to further strengthen the enduring Philippine-US alliance, including the expansion of our security, economic and people-to-people ties,” said Lacierda in a statement.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said the visit will give Obama a firsthand look at reforms and developments in the country’s governance and economy.

“The visit to Manila is an opportunity for President Obama to personally witness the economic transformation in the Philippines that was engendered by President Aquino’s good governance agenda,” he said in a statement.

Increased US presence

The visit comes amid talks between the two treaty allies on expanding US military presence in the country, at a time when the Philippines seeks to counter what it perceives as a growing threat from China.

The proposed deal, called the Framework Agreement on Increased Rotational Presence and Enhanced Defense Cooperation, will allow more US troops, aircraft and ships to temporarily pass through the Philippines, as Washington refocuses its attention on Asia.

Obama’s visit follows recent high-level visits of US officials to the country, including US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier this month and a delegation from the US Congress in February.

Hagel said after a visit to the Philippines last month that the two sides were moving toward completing a framework agreement.

The treaty-reviewing Senate voted to close down the US’ large bases in the Philippines amid growing anti-US sentiment in 1991.

But the Philippines now faces territorial disputes at sea with China and has asked for US assistance to better monitor coastal waters.

The US, meanwhile, is seeking to bolster its ties across Southeast Asia, partly to counter China’s growing military power.

A done deal?

Philippine officials earlier expressed optimism the talks on the framework agreement on increased US presence here would be finalized this year. The third round of talks was scheduled in Washington on Friday.

The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Obama’s visit could signal that the agreement was “already a done deal,” warning of possible breaches of the Constitution.

“The Manila visit could mean that the agreement is already a done deal. The agreement could be signed anytime soon, or even during Obama’s visit. This sets the stage for US de facto basing in our country, in violation of our Constitution and our sovereignty,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes in a statement.

Leftist groups have long been opposed to US presence in the Philippines.

Greater bases access

The Philippines said in June it was looking to give the US, as well as Japan, greater access to its bases, as it seeks to counter what it perceives as a growing threat from China.

China—which contests maritime areas with the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan—on Friday issued its latest warning for the US to stay out of disputes.

The US “should not send wrong signals that support or connive with relevant countries to act on their own initiative,” senior Chinese military officer Wang Guanzhong told a US official in Beijing.

The Obama administration has repeatedly urged freedom of navigation and has stepped up military cooperation with the Philippines and Vietnam.

Obama will take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia, then head to the sultanate of Brunei for the East Asia Summit and finally participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, an initiative on job growth that the US leader designed as a way to reach out to the Islamic world.

‘Muddled message’

Russia traditionally participates in the regional meetings, potentially giving Obama his latest opportunity to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia has spearheaded a proposal for Syrian President Bashar Assad to put his chemical weapons under international control, at least temporarily halting a US push for a military strike in retaliation for the regime’s alleged use of the weapons.

Michael Green, who was the top Asia adviser to former US President George W. Bush, said that Obama’s “muddled message” on Syria could cast a pall over his public reception in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“If the process that the Russians have manufactured goes nowhere, which is very likely, and we’re back to debate and possibly the use of force, that is not the context that you want to take into countries like Malaysia or Indonesia,” said Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“You can’t always make the summit about Asia when something in the other part of the world is catching the White House press corps’ attention,” he said.

Rounds off Asean visits

With the trip, Obama would have visited all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), except communist nations Vietnam and Laos.

The US has been seeking better relations with both nations. Obama in July received Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, who was paying the second visit by a Vietnamese head of state to the White House since the two nations fought a more-than-a-decade long war in the 1960s and 1970s.

Obama pledged to visit Vietnam but did not give a date. Vietnamese-American activists had urged Obama not to visit on his upcoming trip, saying he should first seek improvements in human rights.

The US president, who spent part of his youth in Indonesia, has put a priority on building relations with Southeast Asia, seeing the fast-growing and largely US-friendly region as neglected in the past.

The trip is “part of his ongoing commitment to increase US political, economic and security engagement with the Asia Pacific,” the statement said. With a report from AFP

 

 

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • johndcross1

    “Leftist groups have long been opposed to US presence in the Philippines.”

    This is a fact because they are communist sympathizers. And they are the eyes & ears of China! We could not allow this. Communisn is a discredited & maligned dogma. It showed that it is a failed utopia. Majority of nations don’t believe anymore communism but our leftist brothers & sisters still cling to this obsolete thinking.

    • sakinlang

      They practice what they preach – feudalism! How quickly time has changed!

  • boboposter

    Tawa si Obama sa picture kasi daw ironic daw na si Noynoy ay yung perfect model ng dynasty politics sa Pilipinas haha

  • hello stupids

    Is Obama going to announce Philippines will be the state of US.?
    the answer is definitely …. not of course

    are U too optimistic or nuts under the umbrella.
    I suggest the Philippines government to built a theme park in Philippines call the dream world
    what is the dream world look alike or what it got ?
    it got nothing or everything…Ur in the dream

    hahahahahahahahaha

    • crazy_horse_101010

      does anyone understand what this moron is saying. for a aussie chinese commie his english terrible its like a 2 year old learning to talk

      • sakinlang

        What makes it funnier is that this amoeba had been insulting 3rd world English education!

      • crazy_horse_101010

        he is a lover of purple daisy they like to gang up on me and insult my wife. he told me that the japanese build the inca ruins in peru.he is just a chinese racists without any brains. take care

      • hello stupids

        Please don’t hard sell yr wife again .U like SM but I don’t buy it

        did yr wife said she being insult by all yr guest PunyeteroKa and members
        I don’t think so she is so use to yr guest.and members
        by the way la crazy horse philippines club havn’t got many members.I believe U and Yr wife will be a good host but U still need some more push..push

        hahahahahaha

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        What the fock are you trying to say rejenal? Are you not ashamed to display your lack of education (copy-paste?) in a forum? Much better for you to just speak in chinese as you’re getting worse than the writings of a retard! Your chimp grandson is even better than you. I hope he’s not as stupid as you are but probably is since he is in your bloodline! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    • Punyëtero»Ka

      I read it before but ignored your post, you claim to be an Australian citizen? That’s a blatant lie! No english speaking country will even let you in with the way you murder the language! Or maybe you cheated & pretended you are a deaf-mute unable even to do sign language. That’s the most unbelievable claim I’ve ever come across in ANY posting, you imbecilic moron! HAHAHAHAHA!!

  • jun2012

    Bayan Muna ni Mang Atong, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, LFS, Gabriela at iba pang mga militanteng organization, bago nyo salubungin si Pres. Obama ng fiery demonstration ninyo ay daanan nyo ang China Embassy para maramdaman ng China Embassy ang bagsik ng pagiging militante ninyo.

  • valsore

    The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan are being unreasonable in every turn to the point of being ridiculous. How much salary do they secretly receive from China? we should first fight the enemy within.

    • http://localhost/ Abu Ken

      nasa bilyon lang naman ang natatanggap ng mga yan

  • hello stupids

    Is he the son of Pinocchios

    • Punyëtero»Ka

      Jealous rejenal? They’ve got a missile with your ugly kisser as a target! HAHAHAHA!! Stupid moron!

  • http://localhost/ Abu Ken

    Kelangan nga nila mag meet para hindi na bibili ng AK47 para palitan yung mga M14/M16 na baril

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