Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China’s rise
January 26, 2012
Two decades after evicting U.S. forces from their biggest base in the Pacific, the Philippines is in talks with the Obama administration about expanding the American military presence in the island nation, the latest in a series of strategic moves aimed at China.
Although negotiations are in the early stages, officials from both governments said they are favorably inclined toward a deal. They are scheduled to intensify the discussions Thursday and Friday in Washington before higher-level meetings in March. If an arrangement is reached, it would follow other recent agreements to base thousands of U.S. Marines in northern Australia and to station Navy warships in Singapore.
Among the options under consideration are operating Navy ships from the Philippines, deploying troops on a rotational basis and staging more frequent joint exercises. Under each scenario, U.S. forces would effectively be guests at existing foreign bases.
The sudden rush by many in the Asia-Pacific region to embrace Washington is a direct reaction to China’s rise as a military power and its assertiveness in staking claims to disputed territories, such as the energy-rich South China Sea.