The Philippines was a founding nation of ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations) and is active in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). It is also a member the United Nations (UN), some of its specialised agencies, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the World Bank.
The Philippines has traditionally had very close links with the United States, but the closure of the United States military bases in 1991 led to an increased emphasis on its Asian neighbourhood. The link with the United States was renewed in 2004 through a Visiting Forces Agreement, and regular "Balikatan" (shoulder to shoulder) exercises, which provide training to Philippine forces.
President Arroyo has been a strong supporter of US-led anti-terrorism activities and has pledged the Philippines' support, including transit access for US forces. The Philippines also contributed to reconstruction in Iraq.Tensions exist in the area of the South China Sea in regard to territory contested by the Philippines, China and other ASEAN countries, most recently in April 2004 when Viet Nam organised a "sightseeing" visit to the islands. The Philippines and China have agreed to not let the territorial dispute affect the bilateral relationship.
Last updated: 04 December 2008