Kerry in Philippines to propel troop deal as China row simmers
Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Philippines Tuesday for a two-day trip that could fast-track a deal on expanding the US military presence as a territorial dispute simmers with China. Kerry flew to Manila as the two allies are in the final stages of hammering out a deal allowing more US troops, aircraft and ships to temporarily pass through the Philippines, where the last US bases closed in 1992. He will also visit areas devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan last month, highlighting a massive US humanitarian response to the disaster which contrasted with a modest contribution from regional power China. "Kerry's visit can be expected to act as a catalyst for change," John Blaxland, a security and defence analyst at Australia National University's College of Asia and the Pacific, told AFP.