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Obama lands in the Philippines hours after nations sign new defence agreement

Published on Apr 28, 2014 2:40 PM
US President Barack Obama (centre right) walks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino (second from left) as they inspect an honour guard during a welcoming ceremeony at the Malacanang Palace grounds in Manila, on April 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama landed in the Philippines on Monday to cement new defence ties on the last leg of an Asian tour conducted against a backdrop of territorial tensions between US allies and China.

Mr Obama flew into Manila from Malaysia hours after the allies signed a new defence agreement allowing more US troops and defence hardware to rotate through the Philippines, part of a US rebalancing of military power towards rising Asia.

Mr Obama was due to meet Philippine President Benigno Aquino, participate in a joint press conference and be honoured at a state dinner.

Anti-China sentiments run high in the Philippines, which is locked in a showdown with the Asian giant over disputed atolls in the South China Sea, part of a proliferation of maritime hotspots that has stoked Asian tensions.

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