More American military troops and assets could soon be placed in the Philippines, in a new deal that seems aimed at counterbalancing China’s growing influence. The deal is expected to be formalized Monday, as President Obama arrives in Manila on his trip to Asia.
For NPR’s Newscast unit, Simone Orendain filed this report from Manila:
“The agreement allows for the U.S. to keep military assets — such as fighter jets — in the Philippines. And while the Philippine constitution does not allow permanent foreign bases, the U.S. military will have temporary areas within certain Philippine outposts.
“Negotiators have said Philippine commanders would have complete access to all American areas. There had been U.S. bases for nearly a century in the Philippines, until strong nationalistic pressure pushed them out in 1991.
“The Philippines is looking to bolster its underdeveloped military as its territorial row with China becomes more heated. Obama’s tour of Asia is meant to strengthen U.S. ties with its allies in the region, where China is a growing power.”
The clashes between China and the Philippines have included tense situations at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, where Filipino marines occupy a stranded Navy ship that is shadowed by Chinese ships. As a striking online presentation by The New York Times shows, the two countries are vying for everything from fishing territory to gas and oil rights.