Barack Obama to Visit Philippines

World Today

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in the Philippine capital Manila on Monday. He will meet with President Benigno Aquino III and at the top of the agenda is a military agreement that would boost US military presence in the country. CCTV’s Barnaby Lo has more on how this could impact the country and the region.

Barack Obama to Visit Philippines

Barack Obama to Visit Philippines

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in the Philippine capital Manila on Monday. He will meet with President Benigno Aquino III and at the top of the agenda is a military agreement that would boost US military presence in the country. CCTV's Barnaby Lo has more on how this could impact the country and the region.
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It’s taken more than eight months and eight rounds of talks, but it appears Philippine and US officials are all but set to sign a new military agreement just in time for U.S. President Barack Obama’s arrival in Manila on Monday.

The Philippines and the United States are in the final stages of negotiating a deal that would increase US military presence in the country and provide them with greater access to military bases. Philippine officials say it will in turn enhance the country’s defense and maritime surveillance capabilities especially in the face of heightened regional tensions.

Tensions between China and the Philippines over ownership of certain areas in the South China Sea have escalated in recent years and the Philippines has since been upgrading its military hardware, largely with American assistance. The United States, however, has maintained that it doesn’t take sides in territorial disputes.

Anti-American groups say it is beginning to sound more and more like a return to the days when the United States had bases in the country. And in the days leading up to Obama’s visit, they’ve been taking to the streets to protest what they’re calling US intrusion into Philippine sovereignty. A number of lawmakers have also threatened to challenge the legality of the military agreement.

The presence of American troops has always been a contentious issue in the Philippines, but even as the debate continues – and even before an agreement has been reached – this year alone, the US is pumping some 90 million dollars’ worth of funding into the Philippine military.