China’s official news agency, Xinhua, says that US President Barack Obama met Filipino President Benigno Aquino at the White House, and the two countries reiterated their commitment to strengthen their bilateral relations.
The White House issued a statement after the meeting, stating that the US supports the Philippines’ efforts in establishing minimum-scale reliable defence. It also mentions that the US recently delivered to the Philippine navy a second coast guard boat, and will increase projects of bilateral military drills and training.
However, Xinhua played down US support to the Philippines in its report, saying that earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, at the lunch held in Aquino’s honour, that the United States would enhance intelligence sharing and cooperation on maritime transport safety with the Philippines. However the US is not taking sides in the maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but encourages settlement of the Huangyan Island issue through diplomatic dialogue.
Xinhua says that since last April, the Philippines has molested Chinese fishermen, and kept on creating disturbances at the maritime area of the Huangyan Island, over which China [claims] sovereignty. The Associated Press believes that Aquino’s visit aims at “seeking US commitment to military aid.”
On the other hand, Reuters says in its report that after meeting Filipino President Benigno Aquino, U.S. President Barack Obama called on Friday for clear rules to resolve maritime disputes in the South China Sea, and throughout the Pacific.
The White House says that the two leaders expressed firm support for a collaborative diplomatic process among claimants to resolve territorial disputes in a manner consistent with international law and without coercion or the use of force.
But Washington’s encouragement of multilateral discussions pits it against China, which has insisted on bilateral talks with its weaker neighbors to resolve conflicts.Click here for Reuter’s report