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    Posted April 2, 2014 by
    omeroscar
    Location
    Manila

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    US, Philippines to talk on defense, security

     
    DEFENSE and security will be a major agenda for discussion when US President Barack Obama and President Benigno Aquino III meet during the American leader’s visit to the Philippines late this month, a government official said Wednesday.
    “Defense and security will definitely be a topic in the talks between President Aquino and President Obama. And when you talk of this topic, the most relevant issue that can be discussed would be the West Philippine Sea. So, it is entirely within the realm of possibility,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
    He however said other issues will be tackled during the discussion of the two leaders because what is involved is the strategic partnership between the two countries.
    Meanwhile, on the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea, Coloma said the Philippines is looking at other avenues to resolve the issue peacefully.
    Part of the administration’s thrust is to push for a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said.
    “We continue to engage our fellow ASEAN members, both bilaterally and multilaterally, that there must be an ASEAN centric approach because of the overlapping expanded economic zones in the claims of the various member countries,” Coloma said.
    “So we just continue our policy of peaceful and diplomatic engagement,” he added.
    On Sunday, the Philippine government filed a memorial at the international arbitral tribunal, presenting evidence and arguments on the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea.
    The US State Department recently issued a statement, calling China’s act of blocking a Philippine supply ship in Ayungin Shoal as “provocative.”
    The US government said it does not take sides on the conflicting claims among countries in the West Philippine Sea, but it is after ensuring freedom of navigation in the contested territory.

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