Malacanang expects US' Asian pivot in Obama visit

Posted at 04/20/14 1:34 PM

MANILA -- Malacanang expects that the visit of US President Barack Obama to the Philippines will center on the strategic partnership between the two nations, specifically on defense and security.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the discussion between Obama and President Aquino on April 28 is expected to revolve around “the strategic partnership between the US and the Philippines.”

He said an important part of the discussions is the “defense and security” amid a new deal that will allow American troops to share bases with the Philippine’s military.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation, which is expected to raise the much-needed protection versus China, could finally be signed when Obama visits.

“The context of [the discussions between the two leaders] is the US’ rebalancing of [assets] and the Asian pivot,” Coloma said.

The White House dubbed the US strategy as the Asian “pivot,” which is meant to refocus policies towards Asia away from the costly wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama will also visit Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.

Some pundits said the US has become a mere observer to the sea disputes with the end goal of protecting its economic ties with China, an emerging world power.

Meanwhile, Malacanang said all security protocols are being prepared for the coming visit of the world’s most powerful leader.

Coloma understands that militants will stage rallies on that day. “We respect their rights to free speech and expression,” he said.

He said the police, on the other hand, will ensure that laws will be observed in monitoring the militant groups.