US defense chief to visit PH amid new strategy talks

Posted at 08/20/2013

MANILA – United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is coming to the Philippines by the end of August amid negotiations for an increased American troop presence here.

Manila will be Hagel’s last stop in Asia before he heads back to Washington, Pentagon Press Secretary
George Little said. He will be here August 29 to 30.

The start of the US-Philippines negotiations started on Wednesday with the goal of having a “possible framework agreement on [an] increased rotational presence.”

The US has been the country’s major ally in fending off China’s bullying in the disputed seas. The US has issued statements backing the Philippines’ move to bring the sea dispute before an arbitral panel.

The parties said at least three more rounds of negotiations may be needed before they arrive at an agreement.

Hagel will be in Malaysia on August 24 to 26 after a meeting with US Pacific Command chief Adm. Samuel
Locklear in Honolulu. He will then proceed to Indonesia from August 26 to 27.

“From Jakarta, Secretary Hagel will travel to Brunei August 27-29 to meet with defense counterparts from across the Asia-Pacific region,” said Little.

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