US reaffirms defense treaty with PH

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) - The United States on Saturday reaffirmed its commitment to a defense treaty with the Philippines, which is currently embroiled in a territorial dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea.

The pledge came as US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin on the sidelines of an annual security forum in Singapore set to be dominated by Beijing's growing might.

The Philippines, a former US colony, is involved not only in a row with China but also Taiwan over the recent killing of a Taiwanese fisherman along their sea border.

"Secretary Hagel emphasized the importance of the Philippines as a treaty ally and reaffirmed the United States commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty," Pentagon spokesman George Little told journalists after the meeting.

"Secretary Hagel stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation in the region," he added.

Both defense chiefs "also discussed deepening bilateral defense cooperation including work towards increasing rotational presence of US forces in (the) Philippines to address common challenges," Little said.

The Philippines and the United States, whose soldiers fought side by side in the Pacific theater during World War II, are bound to help defend each other in case of external attacks under a mutual defense treaty signed in 1951.

The Philippines has one of Asia's most poorly equipped armed forces and has been protesting Chinese efforts to enforce Beijing's claims to the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near the Philippine coast.

The Philippines along with Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam as well as China and Taiwan have laid full or partial claim to the South China Sea, which is believed to sit atop vast deposits of natural gas and hosts vital shipping lanes.

Taiwan threatened the Philippines with sanctions and held naval exercises near their sea border after a Taiwanese fisherman was killed when the Filipino coastguard fired on their vessel on May 9.

Hagel said Saturday that the United States would live up to its promise and deploy more cutting-edge military technology in Asia and the Pacific, even in an age of austerity.

Speaking a week before a summit meeting in California between President Obama and China's new leader, Xi Jinping, Hagel sought to reassure Washington's nervous Asian allies - who are concerned about China's expanding naval activities - that the United States would maintain its presence in the region.

In a speech here at the International Institute for Strategic Studies' annual conference, Hagel stressed the need for more talks between the United States and Chinese militaries to build trust and reduce the risk of miscalculation at a time of mounting rivalry.

Overall, he said, the United States would keep its "decisive military edge," an oblique but distinct reference to American military superiority. China has announced an 11.2 percent increase in military spending this year, part of its rapid military modernization. (With a report from NYT)

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Noy to visit Canada, Japan
    Noy to visit Canada, Japan

    President Aquino will embark on a state visit to Canada in May and Japan in June to meet with his counterparts and promote Philippine interests. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino accepted the invitation from Canadian Governor General David Johnston to make a state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Tied to this trip is the President’s one-day working visit to the United States to meet with potential investors and with the local Filipino community in Chicago, Valte …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options