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Manila (AFP) April 28, 2014
President Barack Obama said Monday the US goal in Asia was not to contain or counter China, hours after his administration signed a new defence agreement with the Philippines.
Obama however backed Manila's effort to get its territorial disputes with China adjudicated by international arbitration, during a visit to the Philippines.
"Our goal is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China," Obama said at a press conference with Philippine President Benigno Aquino.
Obama's tour of US allies in Asia encompassing Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines over the last week has been closely watched in Beijing which is sensitive to any suggestion Washington is trying to prevent China's development as a regional superpower.
"We welcome China's peaceful rise. We have a constructive relationship with China," Obama said.
Washington however argues that Beijing must play by "rules of the road" to make sure that territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas are solved in line with international law, not by intimidation or coercion.
Taiwan air force major jailed for spying for China
Hau Chih-hsiung, who had served at an air base in the southern county of Pingtung, was charged last month with passing to China confidential information related to the E-2K, an improved version of the Grumman Hawkeye early warning aircraft.
Hau was convicted by the High Court in the southern city of Kaohsiung. It also passed a 15-year prison term on Wan Tsung-lin, the middleman in Hau's dealings with China.
Wan had run a karaoke club near the air base, the state Central News Agency said, adding that the pair had pocketed a total of Tw$1 million ($33,300) for their activities.
After the conviction, Hau was immediately stripped of his military status. He has the right to appeal.
Taiwan and China have spied on each other ever since they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. Beijing still regards the self-ruled island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Taiwan has been rocked by a spate of spying scandals in recent years, despite warming ties with China under Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.
In September 2013 a retired vice admiral was jailed for 14 months for collecting confidential military information for China, just months after an former lieutenant general was indicted for leaking secrets to Beijing.
In 2011 an army general and chief of an intelligence unit was sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for China in one of Taiwan's worst espionage scandals.
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