President Benigno Aquino 3rd and visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the parameters of the framework agreement on increased US military rotational presence during their meeting in Malacanang Tuesday evening.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said both Aquino and Kerry “affirmed the two countries’ partnership in promoting stability, the rule of law and preserving freedom of navigation in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea.”
“Also clarified were parameters of the framework agreement on rotational presence that will be fleshed out in continuing bilateral talks. All of these were discussed within the context of common history and shared values,” he said.
Coloma earlier said Kerry’s visit was timely, after Southeast Asian leaders and Japan recently “agreed to enhance co-operation in ensuring freedom of overflight and civil aviation safety” following China’s unilateral imposition of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over disputed waters in the East China Sea.
Both the US and Philippines have joined other countries in opposing the ADIZ, saying it impedes freedom of flight and aviation safety.
The Philippines, along with neighboring countries Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, have overlapping claims in the oil-rich West Philippine Sea.
Aside from regional issues, Coloma said President Aquino and Kerry also discussed areas of cooperation in economic development including expanded trade and investment and US assistance in hastening the reconstruction effort in calamity areas. PNA