US Pledges $40 Million in Military Aid to Philippines
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced $40 million in new military aid to the Philippines, a longtime U.S. ally involved in a territorial dispute with China.
Kerry made the announcement Tuesday in Manila, where he is meeting with Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and President Benigno Aquino.
The aid will help improve the Philippines' maritime defense capabilities and boost counterterrorism operations against a Muslim insurgency in the south.
It comes on top of a $32 million package announced Monday to help Southeast Asian countries protect their territorial waters, including $18 million for Vietnam.
Kerry said the increased aid is not aimed at countering rising Chinese assertiveness, though he warned against all sides making "provocative" moves.
He also repeated U.S. opposition to China's new Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, which includes disputed areas claimed by Japan.
China: Woman Dies of New Bird Flu Strain
Chinese authorities say a 73-year-old woman in an eastern province has died after contracting a new strain of bird flu.
The official Xinhua news agency says the woman in Jiangxi province died December 6 of respiratory failure after contracting the H10N8 virus.
China's national disease center believes the case is isolated and that there is low risk of the virus spreading to humans.
Xinhua reported the woman had visited a live poultry market. It said her relatives have not shown signs of the virus.
Officials say the woman also suffered from severe pneumonia, high blood pressure and heart problems, which may have lessened her immunity.
In recent years, China has dealt with various strains of deadly bird f