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Weinberger, Aquino Stress Economic Aid

April 07, 1986|United Press International

MANILA — Leftist protesters chanting "go home, go home" hounded Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger today as he visited President Corazon Aquino and agreed that the United States should emphasize economic aid in its support of her new government.

After talks with Aquino, Weinberger said Washington will offer a "strong infusion" of economic aid but stressed that some military aid is vital to securing political stability and quelling communist insurgents who pose "a serious problem" for the Philippine government.

President Reagan has requested a total Philippine aid package of $228 million for the next fiscal year, $125 million for economic aid and the remainder for military assistance. The allotment is part of a five-year agreement signed by Reagan and former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Military Assistance Vital

Weinberger warned that while Washington's "emphasis has to be on economic aid," military assistance is vital to strengthening the 250,000-strong Philippine Armed Forces and maintaining the stability of the 6-week-old Aquino government.

"It's essential to have both," Weinberger told a brief news conference at the Manila airport shortly before his departure for Thailand, the fourth leg of a five-nation Asian tour.

"If there isn't a stable situation with the government, then economic aid can be of very little use."

Weinberger said he did not discuss the 1947 military bases agreement for U.S. military installations in the Philippines with Aquino government officials.

After leaving the Philippines he flew to Bangkok, where he reaffirmed America's commitment to Thailand's security and called Vietnamese incursions across the Thai-Cambodian border "brutal."

"We will do our very utmost to maintain the security and integrity of Thailand," said Weinberger.

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