MANILA, Aug. 30 (Mabuhay) –Visiting United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday his government is not seeking to put up military bases in the country.
“The United States does not seek permanent bases in the Philippines. That would represent a return to an outdated Cold War mentality. Instead we are using a new method of military cooperation befitting two great allies and friends and looking to increase our rotational presence here as we have done recently in Singapore and Australia,” Hagel said at a press briefing in Malacañang.
Hagel said the US is seeking to increase its military presence in the Philippines and working hard on a new framework agreement that will strengthen cooperation between the two countries and the modernization agenda of the Aquino administration.
Hagel, who met with President Benigno Aquino III Friday morning, said they also discussed the West Philippine Sea dispute with China.
He said the US lauds the Philippine government’s efforts to resolve the dispute peacefully.
“The US appreciates the Philippine efforts to resolve disputes through peaceful means… we encourage nations to peacefully resolve their disputes to internationally accepted mechanisms in accordance with international law including the law of the sea and without coercion or militarized attempts,” Hagel said.
The Philippine government has elevated the territorial row to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). (MNS)