Philippines says deal on wider US role needs more work
MANILA (AFP) - Discussions over proposals to expand the American military's presence in the Philippines failed to reach a deal, Filipino officials said on Thursday, a day after US President Barack Obama called off a Manila visit.
The plan would allow more US troops, aircraft and ships to temporarily pass through the Philippines, an Asian military ally, at a time when Washington is refocusing its attention on Asia.
President Benigno Aquino has pushed for the deal to help modernise the Philippine military and to contain China, which he accuses of illegally laying claim to most of the South China Sea including parts of Filipino territory.
The two sides completed a fourth round of talks in Manila on Wednesday, but Filipino negotiators could not say when these will resume amid a US government shutdown.