April 28 - U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in the Philippines as a new defense pact is signed between the two allies. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival in the Philippines marks the last leg of his Asia tour. He flew into Manila as a new defence pact was being signed to allow more U.S. troops into the Philippines. Obama's week long visit to Asia is intended to reassure key U.S. allies Washington is serious about its promised strategic 'pivot' towards the region. Talks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino were expected to cover issues from trade and economy to security and defence. Afterwards Obama told a news conference the U.S wasn't taking sides in the Philippines' dispute with China over territory in the South China Sea. (SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "We don't even take a position on the disputes between nations but as a matter of international law and international norms we don't think that coercion and intimidation is the way to manage these disputes. And for that reason we are very supportive of President Benigno's approach." Not everyone in the Philippines was pleased by Obama's arrival. Several hundred protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in Manila to voice their opposition to the new security pact. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW PATRIOTIC ALLIANCE SPOKESPERSON RENATO REYES SAYING: "The promises we heard today from the US ambassador are the same promises we've heard during the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement), during the bases negotiations, it's always the same. They are going to help us, but what help are we actually getting? Nothing. Nothing substantial." Obama, who also visited Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, is seeking to reassure U.S. allies of Washington's commitment to their defence in the face of China's increasing assertiveness over territorial claims.