MANILA, April 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said here on Monday that Washington was not trying to "contain" China when it signed a new military pact with the Philippines.
The United States and the Philippines signed on Monday a 10- year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to expand the rotational presence of American forces in the country.
"Our goal is not to counter China, our goal is not to contain China. Our goal is to make sure that international rules and norms are respected," Obama told a joint press briefing with Philippine president Benigno Aquino III in Malacanang, the presidential palace.
He said the U.S. does not take sides on South China Sea dispute.
Obama said, however, that the U.S. supports Aquino's approach to resolve its dispute with China through international arbitration.
"Our message to China consistently in a whole range of issues is, we want to partner with you in upholding international law," he said.
Obama said the U.S. welcomes China's "peaceful rise", adding that China's growth bodes well for Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.
He noted that the U.S. and China have a "constructive relationship" and that the two countries see eye to eye on most international issues.
Obama arrived in Manila Monday on a two-day state visit to the Philippines, the last leg of his four-nation Asia trip which also took him to Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.
Obama's trip to the four Asian countries is part of Washington' s efforts to reassure allies of U.S. pivot to Asia-Pacific strategy.