30 Aug '13, 10am

Hagel: Talks Advance on Wider US Military Role in Philippines

MANILA — The United States and the Philippines are moving toward an agreement that will expand the American military’s presence in the Philippines, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday during a visit to Manila. Hagel and President Benigno Aquino “reaffirmed the progress being made” in talks begun earlier this month to allow a bigger military footprint in the Philippines, the Pentagon chief said. “This progress is welcome and encouraging. I noted that our negotiating teams are working hard to finish the framework agreement in the near future,” he told reporters. Hagel’s optimistic comments appeared to open the possibility that the negotiations, which resumed this week in the US capital, could be wrapped up in time for President Barack Obama’s expected visit to Southeast Asia later this year. An accord opening the way to a more visible role for the American military mar...

Full article: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130830/DEFREG03/3083...

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