U.S. President Barack Obama (L) talks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III inside the Malacanan Palace in Manila, the Philippines, on April 28, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in the Philippines on Monday afternoon for a two-day state visit. (Xinhua/Pool)
MANILA, April 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that his government is not attempting to build military bases in the Philippines.
Obama made the statement in a press briefing held in Malacanang, the presidential palace, a few hours after the Philippines and the United States signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement ( EDCA).
"I want to be very clear, the United States is not trying to reclaim old bases or build new bases," he said.
Upon the invitation of the Philippines, Obama said American service members will rotate to Filipino facilities, train and exercise together "so that we can be prepared for a range of challenges including humanitarian crisis and natural disasters like typhoon Haiyan."
He told Aquino during their bilateral meeting that the U.S. supports the Philippines' decision to pursue international arbitration in resolving the dispute over South China Sea.
Apart from expanding security cooperation, the two presidents also agreed to deepen economic ties between the U.S. and the Philippines.
Obama is currently in the Philippines as the final leg of his four-nation tour to Asia which covered Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.