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US-Manila defence pact 'not to curb China'

Aim is to make sure international norms, rules are respected: Obama

Published on Apr 29, 2014 7:11 AM
US President Barack Obama signing the official guest book at Malacanang Palace in Manila yesterday, as Philippine President Benigno Aquino looks on. The Philippines is the last stop of Mr Obama’s four-nation Asia tour. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

United States President Barack Obama said a 10-year defence pact that the Philippines and the United States signed yesterday is not meant to counter or contain a rising China.

"Our goal is not to counter China, our goal is not to contain China. Our goal is to make sure international norms and rules are respected, and that includes the area of maritime disputes," he said at a joint news conference with Philippine President Benigno Aquino.

Officials from Washington and Manila signed the "enhanced defence cooperation agreement" shortly before Mr Obama arrived for a two-day visit. The Philippines is the last stop of his four-nation Asia tour that included Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

The defence pact will allow the US to rotate more troops, combat aircraft and warships in the Philippines, similar to an arrangement it has with Australia, where it has up to 2,500 marines in the northern city of Darwin.

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