Obama: We have rock solid commitment to defense of PH
United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday said his country is solidly behind the Philippines and its defense.
“We have a rock solid commitment to the defense of the Philippines,” Obama said during a joint press briefing with President Benigno Aquino III.
Obama said US and the Philippines are “great allies” and his visit to the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit helps strengthen and confirm his government’s “commitment to the security and defence of the Philippines.”
He described Aquino as a “valuable and trusted friend of the United States.”
“Our rebalance to the Asia Pacific is rooted in our treaty alliances including the Philippines,” Obama explained.
Obama visited the Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar.
It was during the said visit that Obama promised to hand over two ships—a US Coast Guard cutter and a research vessel—to help boost Philippine maritime security.
Reports said the US is scaling up assistance to naval forces in the region where there have been disputes due to overlapping claims in parts of South China Sea. China, specifically, has been criticized for constructing artificial islands in areas claimed by its neighboring countries.
Obama said he and Aquino discussed China’s land reclamation.
“We agreed on steps to lower tension including pledging to halt further reclamation and construction and militarization in disputed areas in South China Sea,” he said.
The US President said he agreed with the Philippine government’s thrust to pursue arbitration to clarify issues pertaining to the West Philippine Sea. RAM