Philippines seeking larger US military presence

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The government of the Philippines has announced that it will seek a larger American military presence in the country.

The Philippines hosted the largest American military base outside of the United States for decades before asking the Americans to leave in the early 1990s. Recent tensions with regional hegemon China have apparently caused the Philippines to rethink that decision.

On Thursday the Associated Press obtained a letter from the Philippine executive branch to the Congress wherein the secretaries of national defense and foreign affairs said that allowing American troops to have an “increased rotational presence” would help the country attain a “minimum credible defense” to guard its territory while it works to modernize its own military.

This is the latest development in a conflict between China and the Philippines that has been escalating for months. Over the past year the Philippines has purchased a number of warships from Japan, the US, and France in a clear attempt to increase its capacity to resist China’s territorial expansion ambitions.

The US Senate also recently passed a resolution condemning those ambitions and calling for China to respect internationally recognized maritime borders. The resolution cited several recent incidents as causes for concern, including Chinese ships cutting the cables of a Vietnamese oil exploration ship in 2011; Chinese ships occupying the Scarborough Reef lagoon, which is in Philippine territory, in 2012; China publishing a map that claims as sovereign Chinese territory a much larger portion of the South China Sea than has ever been internationally recognised; and Chinese naval and marine ships continuously patrolling around the Second Thomas Shoal, also in Philippine territory.

The Japanese government also recently pledged its support to the Philippines in the event of a Chinese-Philippine conflict.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Reading Time: 1 minute

The government of the Philippines has announced that it will seek a larger American military presence in the country.

The Philippines hosted the largest American military base outside of the United States for decades before asking the Americans to leave in the early 1990s. Recent tensions with regional hegemon China have apparently caused the Philippines to rethink that decision.

On Thursday the Associated Press obtained a letter from the Philippine executive branch to the Congress wherein the secretaries of national defense and foreign affairs said that allowing American troops to have an “increased rotational presence” would help the country attain a “minimum credible defense” to guard its territory while it works to modernize its own military.

This is the latest development in a conflict between China and the Philippines that has been escalating for months. Over the past year the Philippines has purchased a number of warships from Japan, the US, and France in a clear attempt to increase its capacity to resist China’s territorial expansion ambitions.

The US Senate also recently passed a resolution condemning those ambitions and calling for China to respect internationally recognized maritime borders. The resolution cited several recent incidents as causes for concern, including Chinese ships cutting the cables of a Vietnamese oil exploration ship in 2011; Chinese ships occupying the Scarborough Reef lagoon, which is in Philippine territory, in 2012; China publishing a map that claims as sovereign Chinese territory a much larger portion of the South China Sea than has ever been internationally recognised; and Chinese naval and marine ships continuously patrolling around the Second Thomas Shoal, also in Philippine territory.

The Japanese government also recently pledged its support to the Philippines in the event of a Chinese-Philippine conflict.

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