(MANILA, Philippines) — On the final day of his four-country Asia tour, President Obama vowed the United States will defend the Philippines in the face of Chinese aggression.
During a speech addressing American and Filipino troops in Manila on Tuesday, Obama said the country’s “commitment to defend the Philippines is ironclad,” referencing the region’s quarrels with China over territory.
The proclamation came one day after signing a new military pact with the Philippines. Troops from both countries will train together to bring “militaries even closer” and support efforts to strengthen the Philippines’ armed forces.
“We believe that nations and peoples have the right to live in security and peace and to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected,” the president said.
Wrapping up his trip, Obama gave a salute to the unsung heroes of World War II, addressing Filipino veterans who served alongside the U.S. military and were denied promised compensation until recently. The Obama administration is working with Congress to “right this wrong,” he said, and added that claims have been processed.
The president also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery to honor fallen soldiers.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Chieu Luu and Huizhong Wu, CNN
Faith Karimi and Chuck Johnston, CNN