New York Times: “… The (joint US-Philippines military) exercises included mock beach invasions along coastlines facing China, whose military buildup and territorial claims in the South China Sea have alarmed some of its neighbors and jumpstarted the United States’ military “pivot” to the region.
That American policy, which will include sending more troops and ships to the region, appears to have picked up speed in recent weeks. On Thursday, Japan and the United States announced what was effectively a compromise on Okinawa that calls for thousands of Marines to leave for Guam and Hawaii in an attempt to allow others to remain on the strategic Japanese island despite local objections. And on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta will meet their Philippine counterparts in Washington, the highest level meeting after months of talks to expand the American military presence in the Philippines.
Ramping up the number of troops in the Philippines — even if they are rotating in and out from temporary bases — would still be something of a reversal for the nation after Philippine lawmakers years ago forced the closing of American bases, including the shuttering in 1992 of the Subic Bay Naval Station. The base, which had been a cornerstone of the United States’ military presence in Asia, was a casualty of some Filipinos’ sense that the facility served as a painful reminder of decades of American rule.
America continues with its strategy to encircle China in the Pacific, with military alliances not only with its traditional allies, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea; but also with Australia, India and the Philippines.
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