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Published On: Sat, Jul 27th, 2013

US military may soon have increased presence in Philippines

Twenty years after the US Navy and US Air Force packed up their bags and left Subic Bay Naval Station and Clark Air Base, respectively, the US government is in the process of finalizing an agreement allowing an increased deployment of US troops and weapons into the Philippines while at the same time, not establishing the controversial bases on Philippine soil.

 

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

The Navy Times reports, the talks center on an “access agreement” that would allow the Navy to dispatch ships more often to Subic Bay; to store spare parts, supplies and hardware there that would be useful in a crisis; and to temporarily base sailors and Marines there.

The agreement would place the US Navy and Marines on the door step of the South China Sea, where there has been much contention between China and its southeast Asian neighbors.

As Jason Ditz of Anti-war.com reports, The US has troops rotated into the Philippines’ bases regularly already, and the deal is likely to take the form of a revision in that schedule, allowing more troops to be “rotated” into the nation.

The government of the Philippines is “working with us as we look at, you know, potential access agreements down the road,” said Adm. Samuel Locklear, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, in a July 11 Pentagon briefing. “They’re always going to ask the question, ‘Is the U.S. going to re-open Subic or Clark?’ And I say, the U.S. isn’t going to open anymore bases in the Asia-Pacific.”

Retired Air Force Col. Carl Baker, who studies the Philippines closely as a Hawaii-based defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the talks are a sign that officials in the Philippines clearly recognize an existential maritime threat from China.

“For them, it’s a significant shift away from the internal focus on terrorism and counterterrorism threats [toward] a focus on external defense, which is a significant shift for the Philippine defense establishment,” Baker said.

Read: Experts say ‘Philippines snow’ video a hoax

Vice President Joe Biden urged China and the Association of South East Asian Nations last week to work more closely toward a code of conduct that establishes universally acceptable standards of international behavior.

“That means no intimidation, no coercion, no aggression and a commitment from all parties to reduce the risk of mistakes and miscalculation,” he said. “It is in everyone’s interest that there be freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, respect for international laws and norms and a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes.”

The U.S. pulled out of all its bases, some of its largest overseas, in 1992 after the Philippine Senate rejected a plan to extend a basing treaty signed in 1947.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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