With an increasingly aggressive posture by China in the South China Sea and the Pacific concerning the Philippines and the United States concern about China’s military capabilities and intentions, the two countries completed talks of Friday with the Philippines considering to allow more US troops rotating through the country.
In addition to the increased rotation of US military troops, plans to hold more joint military exercises, the deployment of combat ships and spy aircraft and increased cooperation in maritime security, defense, commerce and disaster relief.
This follows similar recent agreements with Australia and Singapore to allow an expansion of US military in the region.
However, officials in both countries clearly state that there are no plans for permanent bases on the archipelago.
Admiral Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Command said no aspiration for bases in Southeast Asia. He went on to say, “There is no desire nor view right now that the US is seeking basing options anywhere in the Asia-Pacific theater.”
The talk of an increased US military presence in the very pro-American Philippines has drawn some strong opposition from Philippines anti-war activists. (see video)
In an AFP report today, on Saturday, opponents from the leftist New Nationalist Alliance (Bayan) and others groups, burned a cardboard American flag and mock stealth bomber, vowing to launch a campaign opposing a plan to allow more US troops in the country.
According to a Bayan statement:
“If we allow more US troops to enter our country, the entire archipelago will be transformed into one military outpost for US hegemonic interests.”