Beijing: 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.