WASHINGTON (AP) -- China's assertive behavior is breathing life into America's historically tumultuous relationship with the Philippines.
With Washington turning its attention more to the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. and the Philippines last week held the first joint meeting of their top diplomats and defense chiefs. The U.S. increased military aid and resolved to help its ally on maritime security.
The steps come as the Philippines is locked in a standoff with China over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. The U.S. is walking a delicate diplomatic line. It doesn't want the dispute to escalate, but it is showing where its strategic interests lie.
The U.S. seeks to build a stronger presence in Southeast Asia. The Philippines wants help to equip and train its bedraggled military.