Kerry in Philippines to show US backing for reforms and typhoon recovery

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Philippines to show American backing for its longtime ally and inspect typhoon recovery efforts.

Kerry arrived Tuesday in Manila from Hanoi, where a day earlier he pledged $32.5 million in assistance to help southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam and the Philippines, protect their territorial waters amid rising tensions with China in the South China Sea. Vietnam has been involved in major trade negotiations with the United States as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The US has encouraged the Philippines to join in.

Washington has also backed a decade-long Philippine campaign against al-Qaida-linked local militants.

On Wednesday, Kerry will visit Tacloban, which was hardest hit by last month's deadly Typhoon Haiyan. The U.S. was a major contributor of relief after the disaster.