Biden: Alliance with Phl at the 'core' of US strategy
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2013 - 5:50pm

American Vice President Joe Biden said in a speech that the alliance with the Philippines is among the cornerstones of the United States' defensive and economic strategies in the Asia Pacific region.

"The core of our strategy in the region are our alliances: Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand," Biden said, sharing his take on the United States' policy in the region at the Center for American Progress on Thursday (Manila time).

Biden said the US' strategic ties with these countries that have transformed economically the past years are at the center of President Barack Obama's "re-balancing" policy, shifting its focus from Western nations to Asia.

"Economically and strategically, it's clear why the United States has to re-balance, to direct our resources toward the Asia Pacific region," he said.

Biden also admitted that building alliances with the five countries as well as India, Singapore and Indonesia have not been without risk, as many of them suffer from disputes.

"In the Asia-Pacific, we saw a region of remarkable promise but also genuine uncertainty and political risk. Many nations have experienced rapid economic transformation that has fundamentally created a new dynamic: rising ambitions and rising tensions," Biden said.

To address the challenges, he said that the US' "entire national security and economic teams" are committed to solving concerns in the Pacific region.

The strategy consists in "strengthening our alliances, deepening partnerships and investing like never before in regional institutions to help manage disputes peacefully," Biden said.

Seeing the disputes over the South China Sea with China claiming almost the entire territory, Biden urged China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to draft a binding code of conduct over the sea territory.

"That means no intimidation, no coercion, no aggression and a commitment from all parties to reduce the risk of mistakes and miscalculation," he said.

"It is in everyone's interest that there be freedom of navigation, unimpended lawful commerce, respect for international laws and norms and a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes," Biden added.

Biden also said  the US wants to help create 21st century "rules of the road" to help Asian nations integrate and achieve security and prosperity.

To spark growth, nations must raise their standards. He says there must be fewer border barriers and better protections for intellectual property, the US vice president said.

Another highlight of Biden's address is about the US' relationship with a growing superpower in China--calling the ties both of "competition and cooperation" and not of inevitable conflict.

He said Americans like to compete and that competition is good for both countries. U.S.-China relations have been aggravated by economic rivalry, accusations of cyber hacking and China's inaction in extraditing NSA leaker Edward Snowden. - With reports from AP

AMERICAN PROGRESS AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ASIA PACIFIC BIDEN CHINA AND THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS EDWARD SNOWDEN IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SINGAPORE AND INDONESIA UNITED STATES
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