US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Philippine President Benigno Aquino discussed expanding the US military’s presence in the Philippines during their talks on August 30, according to news reports.

The talks came as part of Chuck Hagel’s visit to the Philippines , the last stop of his week-long trip to Southeast Asia, which also took him to Malaysia , Indonesia and Brunei .

Hagel said at a joint news conference following the meeting that the US is promoting a new framework cooperation that will strengthen cooperation between the two militaries and help them work together more effectively.

He proposed bilateral military arrangements with the Philippines similar to those in Singapore and Australia.

After the press conference, Hagel held separate talks with his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazim and Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario.-VNA