News / Asia

Philippines May Offer US Naval Base on Western Palawan Island

US and Philippine marines storm the beach as they simulate an amphibious landing during the joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed Balikatan 2014, at the Naval Training Exercise Command, a former U.S. naval base, at San Antonio township, Zambales province, northwest of Manila, Philippines, May 9, 2014.
US and Philippine marines storm the beach as they simulate an amphibious landing during the joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed Balikatan 2014, at the Naval Training Exercise Command, a former U.S. naval base, at San Antonio township, Zambales province, northwest of Manila, Philippines, May 9, 2014.
Reuters
The Philippines, aiming to boost its ability to defend offshore areas, wants to ensure U.S. warships are closer to the disputed South China Sea by offering the United States an underdeveloped naval base on a western island, its military chief has said.
 
China has stepped up its activities to assert its extensive claim over the energy-rich South China Sea.

 
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Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over the sea, or parts of it, through which about $5 trillion of ship-borne goods pass every year.
 
Last month, the Philippines and the United States signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) allowing U.S. forces wider access to Philippine bases and building facilities for joint use in maritime security and disaster response.
 
“Oyster Bay is still underdeveloped but we need to improve it for our armed forces,” armed forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said in a television interview late on Wednesday, referring to a base on Palawan island to the west of main Philippine islands.
 
“Perhaps with the EDCA that can be facilitated and further improvement in Oyster Bay will be made.”
 
Bautista said he was hoping the U.S. would help pay for the development of the base, where the Philippines has begun work, and help develop it into a major operating base for both navies.
 
Oyster Bay is only 160 km (100 miles) from the disputed Spratly islands, where China has been reclaiming a reef known as Johnson South Reef, and building what appears to be an airstrip on it.
 
The Philippine foreign ministry released on Thursday aerial surveillance photographs of the reef showing some work had been done.
 
In October, the Philippine navy commander on Palawan told Reuters the force had a plan to convert Oyster Bay into a “mini-Subic” where the country's two former U.S. Coast Guard cutters would be based.
 
Subic Bay is a former U.S. naval base which is now a commercial free port, where U.S. warships dock because of its deep harbor. There are plans to convert parts of the free port into an air and naval base.
 
Bautista said the Philippines was also offering the United States the use of a base in the Zambales area and an army jungle training base in Fort Magsaysay in the Nueva Ecija area.

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by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
May 21, 2014 11:38 PM
Typhoons and ocean waves do terrible things in the stormy waters around the Spratly Islands. I'll bet they could even loosen the bolts holding together that Chinese oil rig. Ships can run aground or sink quickly. Waves can sweep over airfields and wreck aircraft.


by: Paul Chabot from: Folsom, CA
May 21, 2014 5:15 PM
Like it or not, because of our former administration of the islands we have a responsibility to help defend the Phillipines. They didn't want bases that were virtual US mini-states on their land any longer but they never disavowed our defense treaty. Not saying it was a smart decision. I don't think it is a coincidence that Asia's two most prosperous countries both host large US military facilities.


by: Bob-X from: WA
May 21, 2014 12:26 AM
Chinese Lie.
The Chinese people are so used to their Gov't, (and News) lying about everything, they will just lie to people walking down the street, for no reason. i.e. Q "is that sore open" A "no, it closed" truth: yes store is open.
Chinese don't even trust each-other.
Also, the Gov't is anxious to exorcise the power that their newfound economic wealth has brought them.


by: Punnisher from: Florida
May 20, 2014 9:48 AM
During the Vietnam war I spent a fair amount of time in the Philippines , in Subic at the MAU camp and had lots of contact with Phillipinos and I can tell you without any doubt whatsoever that the relationship between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines is Rock Solid. We love them and they love us .I spent many hours working with the Phillipino Marines in the Jungle and learned quite a bit from them .

Also I have to say it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with pristine white sand beaches. The Phillipino culture is one of very much kindness and acceptance of all good people and I personally , although I am no longer a young man , would come to their defense in a New York minute. I absolutely support the continued relationship of our two countries and believe that the misunderstandings surrounding military bases in the past were trivial and did not fully grasp the necessity of our union , hopefully we have learned from our mistakes.


by: james from: somewhere
May 17, 2014 8:30 PM
Like to point out 2 things
1. Not everyone agrees in a specific issue. In this case US coming back to manila. This is a democratic country which i definitely know the US can also state the fact that they also have these issues.
Question: Does Philippines hate US?
Answer: No. We welcome them open arms.(check Obama's visit). Our constitution, education, language , our streets, Music and even some of our structures are influenced by US. How can we hate them if we see them as allies and a big brother. We can't fight China alone and we dont want their type of 1 party system in the first place. We want freedom which US supports turning philippines into a democratic and tolerant nation.

Questions: Why do some filipinos protest against US
Answer: During the 1940's-50's communism starts to crawl in the Philippines. So these people who protest are the son's and daughters of these fascist. 100 people doesnt reflect 70 Million population.

Summary: We hate chinese ideology. We love US culture more. We need help against these bullies. We respect international law. We tell China, go to the international court if you believe your claim. What do they respond to that civil approach? Spraying us with water cannon. Why? because they know they will lose the battle in the international court.

So, to the americans. I hope now you see the whole picture. We need your help to protect Democracy and freedom And frankly speaking, We cant fight it against a huge country like China.


by: Fed up from: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
May 17, 2014 7:10 AM
Oh yes, let the USA pay for it. And while we're at it, let US men and women die to protect the world. Then, when our "friends" don't need us anymore, be sure to criticize us for every evil they can dream up and demand out money and resources be left behind when they reclaim bases, equipment, etc. We have seen all this before and we have to be idiots to keep this up. Let's take care of ourselves and let out so-called "friends" do the same. Stop being a sucker for an ungrateful and ignorant world.


by: Kris Thorn from: US
May 17, 2014 3:38 AM
F posters said why there was no Chinese people on the islands etc.
France, Japan and UK's mid Pacific islands have any population.
80 years before Christopher can to America, China's Chenghe has already travelled to west to Africa and Arabic sea and down south to Indonesia, Brunei with 200,000 troops in more than 200 3-decker ships, 7 times over 20 years period, but they were so stupid as not to colonize the places where they went. Otherwise, today's map of nations will be totally different.


by: Bhalanee from: USA
May 17, 2014 3:32 AM
F posters said why there was no Chinese people on the islands etc.
France, Japan and UK's mid Pacific islands have any population.
80 years before Christopher can to America, China's Chenghe has already travelled to west to Africa and Arabic sea and down south to Indonesia, Brunei with 200,000 troops in more than 200 3-decker ships, 7 times over 20 years period, but they were so stupid as not to colonize the places where they went. Otherwise, today's map of nations will be totally different.


by: Dino from: U.S
May 17, 2014 1:23 AM
To all Flipino commenters here, your old maps - those before the news of oil and gas deposit in Spratly island - don't include Spratlys, and you Flips didn't even know the existence of these islands.
When the news broke out that that region is rich in oil and gas, Philippines jump off their bed and claimed it as theirs.

These chain of islands has been discovered by Chinese merchants even before Magellan discovered Philippines that put it under Spain's authority.

Why there are no Chinese living in Spratly's? Who will live in atoll or small islets? I ask you too, why are there no Filipinos living in Spratly's if you consider it as yours?


by: Dino from: earth
May 17, 2014 1:10 AM
The action of U.S, pivot to Asia is a clear sign of containing China. Only stupid people don't realize this.

I can't blame China for securing islands it considers hers with this regard.

No one else to blame but U.S and Philippines, their action of stationing U.S forces in Philippines , by some measures, is provocative to China,There's no reason for U.S forces to station there if not for China

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