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Obama foreign policy speech: Philippine experts doubt US intention to help Asian allies

Published on May 30, 2014 12:12 AM
A Philippine soldier (R) fires his weapon while a US soldier (L) supervises during a live fire exercise at a Philippine army training camp in Fort Magsaysay, in Nueva Ecija province north of Manila on May 10, 2014. Philippine lawmaker Carlos Isagani Zarate said a defence pact Washington signed with Manila during US President Barack Obama's state visit to the Philippines in April provided the US with "a staging area for its expansionist plans in the region at no cost". -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

MANILA - President Barack Obama's foreign policy speech at the US Military Academy in West Point may have diluted Washington's much-hyped "pivot" to Asia, but it does not come as a surprise as it just spells out what has already been obvious for quite some time, according to political observers in the Philippines.

"(The speech) is just a categorical statement that the United States was never serious about coming to the Philippines' defence in the event of an armed conflict with China," lawmaker Carlos Isagani Zarate, of the Bayan Muna (Nation First) party, told The Straits Times.

Mr Obama had assured US allies in Asia like the Philippines and Japan that it would use "military force", unilaterally if necessary, if their security "is in danger".

He also said, however, that for conflicts that do not pose a direct threat to the US, like the territorial rows now brewing between China and its neighbours, "the threshold for military action must be higher".

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