A military agreement with the Philippines and easing an arms embargo against Vietnam show the Obama administration wants deeper security ties with Asia, even as turmoil in the Mideast has undermined its hope of making Asia the heart of its foreign policy.
In a decision likely to anger China, the US is partly lifting a 40-year ban on arms sales to former foe Vietnam to help boost defenses in the tense South China Sea.
By Christine O. Avendaño
Japan has started its “substantial relaxation’’ of visa requirements for nationals from the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam to lure more tourists into the East Asian country.
Vietnam has nearly doubled its military spending, Japan is requesting its biggest-ever defense budget and the Philippines is rushing to piece together a viable navy.
By Jeannette I. Andrade
The Philippines will send a 34-member delegation to compete in next month’s 10th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Skills Competition in Hanoi, Vietnam.