- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 588 Hour
- Reading permission
His parents brought him to the poor central Philippine province of Samar, where his mother is from, when he was 5 years old, and he did not return to the country until this week. Rhoades said he was aware of the geo-political issues surrounding the American presence in Asia but would rather simply enjoy getting back to his roots for now.|
"I see a lot of it on the news, in the newspapers, and it's hard not to think about it," Rhoades said. "When I come here, it's just to relax, get off work a little bit and just kick my feet up ... I get to see where my mom is from and see the culture."
From the George Washington, passenger boats ferry hundreds of American sailors in casual clothes to the Mall of Asia, one of Asia's largest shopping centers, where some bars blared loud disco music on a rainy noontime Thursday to attract the visitors. Smiling mall workers handed umbrellas to the large throng of sailors.
Such U.S. military presence in the region has in the past annoyed China, which has warned the United States not to intervene in territorial disputes Beijing says should be dealt with one-on-one by Asian claimants.
Amid the murky situation, Washington has walked a tightrope by providing military support to allies like the Philippines and declaring that it will help ensure freedom of navigation in disputed South China Sea areas, while also saying it does not take sides in the disputes to avoid being drawn into the wrangling.
"We are firmly committed to helping support the nations that are involved in the disputes, but ideally we'd like to see them sort out their disputes via diplomatic channels," Fenton told reporters.
"We're very sensitive to the areas that are under disputes," he said. "We do make a very conscious effort to stay away from those areas."