US, Philippines vow freedom of navigation amid Asia sea rows
MANILA (AFP) - The United States and the Philippines have vowed to maintain freedom of navigation in a South-east Asia increasingly beset by maritime territorial rows, the two military allies said.
The military chiefs of the two countries made the pledge in the United States on Thursday as their governments held talks on expanding the American military presence in the Philippines, a joint statement said.
"We share a common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and transit of people and goods across the seas," said Philippine military chief General Emmanuel Bautista and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"We resolve to... strengthen the South-east Asia security environment in a manner that protects the interests of all who value unimpeded commerce transiting through the maritime domain, while deterring those who would restrict it or act in a manner that might place it at risk."