More U.S. army forces in the Philippines to counter Chinese ambitions.
According to reports, the US army forces are set for an “increased rotational presence” in the Philippines. This comes after the recent negotiations between the United States and the government in Manila.
Both countries want to counter the growing intentions and ambitions of China in the region, and thus, increasing the American military presence in the Philippines is the result of this aim to counter China’s growing ambitions. However, this boost of the U.S. military presence in the Philippines will not provoke the Chinese government.
Currently, Washington conducts a regular joint exercise in the Southern Philippines. According to the information about the U.S. military presence in the region, a rotating force of about 500 US troops are in the Southern Philippines, but this number of troops is expected to be increased soon.
According to the reports, the Pentagon may send more advanced equipment and U.S. soldiers to the region or / and upgrade the local U.S. facilities in the Southern Philippines in order to counter the Chinese ambitions. US officials said after the first negotiations with Manila that no detailed modalities and plans have been laid out in the first round of a four-stage negotiation.
The U.S. Defence Undersecretary, Pio Batino, who participated in the first round of negotiations with Manila, said to the press that there should be a focus on high-value training exercises and activities in the region. The activities, according to Pio Batino, would focus on maritime domain awareness, maritime security and the perennial problem with disasters.
The US military abandoned its last military base in the Philippines in 1992. Between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was a typical US colony and the military presence of American units remains controversial, of course. However, the Philippines are not able to counter such a presence or plans by the United States.
The tensions have increased in the last decade because the Chinese government began to implement the results of its ambitions in almost the entirety of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). Of course, the disputes over the underground mineral resources and the potentially lucrative sea lanes between China and the United States have increased since then.
Manila tries to counter the intentions and claims of China and made several diplomatic appeals to the United Nations (UN) over the “excessive claims” of China. In addition, Manila sought a greater assistance from Washington to counter the Chinese presence in the region.
The U.S. administration in Washington has, after years of the problems and difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, changed its foreign policy in direction of Asia. After re-directing of the foreign policy, the United States signed a docking agreement for its warships with Singapore and increased the number of U.S. troops in Australia.
Several dozen anti-American protesters carried out a protest outside the main army base where the negotiations between the Pentagon and Manila took place, although officials from the Philippines tried to reassure the people with statements such as that increased U.S. military presence will only be allowed with strict stipulations. However, it remains questionable if one should believe those statements of the Philippine officials.