Obama hails relationship with Philippines

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BALI, Indonesia (AP) ? President Barack Obama is telling Philippine President Benigno Aquino III that the U.S. and the Philippines have a 60-year alliance that assures both nations’ look out for each other on security matters.

Obama was meeting with Aquino and other Asian-Pacific leaders on the sidelines of Asian summits here. Obama is eager to exert more U.S. influence in the Asian-Pacific region, a strategic part of the world for the U.S. economy and its national security.

Obama called Aquino and “excellent partner.” The two men spoke publicly briefly before their private session.

An expected topic is the South China Sea, a key trade route that is the subject of territorial disputes among China and several countries in the Association of Southeast Asia Nations.