News / Asia

    Philippines Seek Talks on Expanding U.S. Access to its Military Bases

    The Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario is seen at a meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan in this July 1, 2013, file photo.The Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario is seen at a meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan in this July 1, 2013, file photo.
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    The Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario is seen at a meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan in this July 1, 2013, file photo.
    The Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario is seen at a meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan in this July 1, 2013, file photo.
    VOA News
    Philippine officials say the nation is seeking fresh talks with the United States on expanding U.S. access to its military bases, as tensions with China rise over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea.
     
    In a joint letter to Philippine lawmakers, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the talks will focus on "a possible framework agreement" for "an increased [U.S.] rotational presence." 
     
    U.S. officials by late Thursday had not confirmed any talks, but said a framework agreement would increase opportunities for joint military training and exercises that could include other regional partners.
     
    Manila's push to bolster its defenses comes as China presses maritime claims to most of the mineral and energy-rich South China Sea. For their part, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei are seeking to defend their sea borders against what those governments see as Chinese naval and fishing intrusions.
     
    Earlier this week, the Philippines took formal possession of a refurbished former U.S. Coast Guard cutter obtained under a bilateral military alliance with Washington. The vessel joins another former U.S. cutter recommissioned by the Philippines in 2011.
     
    Vietnam has also welcomed closer military ties with the United States, and has allowed U.S. Navy supply ships to dock for repairs and maintenance in recent years.
     
    Rumors swirled this week in official Vietnamese media that the United States was considering suspending a ban on the export of lethal weapons to the Hanoi government. 
     
    However, there has been no official confirmation of those deliberations. Analysts have cautioned against expecting any such concessions from Washington without evidence of significant improvement in Vietnam's human rights record.

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    Comments
         
    by: Carolyn from: Texas
    August 09, 2013 7:30 AM
    I will be the first to comment. The Philippines could not wait to get us out of Subic Bay. I well remember the pull out. We saved their rears in WW11 along with most of the world, and when things are going good, we are trashed. When trouble is brewing, then we are the good guys. Not interested in spending my tax dollars to "save the world". Let the world save itself. China would not be China if it had not been for the United States and the blood of the American soldier.

    by: riano baggy from: ina
    August 09, 2013 2:56 AM
    welcome home again, i afraid ASEAN countries depend the foreign military to handle the problems about the border with china.

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