Discussions over proposals to expand the American military's presence in the Philippines ended in Manila on October 2 but the two sides failed to reach a deal, Filipino officials said on October 3.

The negotiations are at a "crucial" stage, with more work needed over the installations to be offered to the Americans, as well as the "pre-positioning" of US defence equipment, chief Filipino negotiator Pio Batino told a news conference after the fourth round of talks.

The plan would allow more US troops, aircraft and ships to temporarily pass through the Philippines at a time when Washington is refocusing its attention on Asia. President Benigno Aquino has pushed for the deal to help modernise the Philippine military.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a visit to Manila in late August that the two allies were moving towards an agreement "in the near future" and the access talks were to have been a centrepiece of President Barack Obama's visit to Manila on October 11-12. However, Obama cancelled the Malaysian and Philippine legs of his trip due to the budget stand-off with Republican leaders.

Though the negotiators have yet to decide on when or where to meet next, Assistant Foreign Secretary Carlos Sorreta was quoted as saying that Manila remained hopeful of concluding the agreement.-VNA