Date
19 October 2017
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter (left) talks to his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin at the presidential palace in Manila on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter (left) talks to his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin at the presidential palace in Manila on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

US stations warplanes in Philippines as tensions rise

The United States is stationing warplanes in the Philippines in response to Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The US and the Philippines began joint patrols of the South China Sea last month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday on a visit to the Philippines.

The two allies have been holding 10 days of joint military drills that were scheduled to end on Friday.

Carter said five American A-10 Thunderbolt ground-attack jets, three H-60G Pavehawk helicopters and one MC-130H Combat Talon special forces infiltration aircraft will remain behind at Clark Air Base north of Manila along with 200 crew members.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he hoped the US moves would “deter uncalled-for actions by the Chinese”.

“In the South China Sea, China’s actions … are causing anxiety and raising regional tensions,” Carter told reporters at the presidential palace in Manila, where he met President Benigno Aquino III.

The US deployment is designed “to tamp down tensions here” and wouldn’t provoke a showdown with Beijing, he said.

China’s Defense Ministry said the latest US-Philippines military cooperation would exacerbate tensions while the joint-patrol plan “promotes the militarization of the region”.

It also called the strengthened military alliance and joint exercises “the embodiment of Cold War thinking and not conducive to peace and stability in the South China Sea”.

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CG

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