Nov 17, 2015 8:50 PM

Obama 'confident' US-Philippine defense pact will proceed

The Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) President Barack Obama says he's confident the U.S. will be able to execute a defense cooperation agreement with the Philippines despite a hold-up in implementation.

Obama is meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino (beh-NEEG'-noh ah-KEEN'-oh) in Manila. He says the agreement will proceed but that it must go through the process.

The two countries signed a pact last year giving American forces temporary access to selected military camps and permission to preposition assets. But it's been delayed by a challenge before the Philippine Supreme Court.

Aquino says the agreement is welcomed "with very open arms."

The leaders are discussing how to lower tensions in maritime disputes with China through peaceful means.

Obama also says he welcomes interest by the Philippines in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

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