Date
25 May 2017
Filipino soldiers wave the peace sign at a Chinese Coast Guard vessel at the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this file picture taken in  March 2014. Photo: Reuters
Filipino soldiers wave the peace sign at a Chinese Coast Guard vessel at the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this file picture taken in March 2014. Photo: Reuters

US set to deploy troops to Philippines in rebalancing act

The Philippines has given US forces access to five of its military bases, including those near the disputed South China Sea, as the allies pursue plans to station American troops in the Southeast Asian country for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

After two days of high-level talks in Washington, the Philippines announced that four air bases and one army camp will be opened to the US under the terms of a defense pact signed in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will visit Manila in April to finish the details of the deployments, the newspaper said, citing US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Amy Searight.

The agreement to send US troops back to the Philippines is part of US President Barack Obama’s strategy of rebalancing forces to the Asia-Pacific region.

New US military deployments to Australia and Singapore are already under way as part of that plan, the report said.

The Philippines is locked in a dispute with China over the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Manila has been encouraging the US to play a more active role in resisting what it regards as Chinese aggression in Philippine waters.

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