The United States is expanding its military presence in the Philippines. That word comes from the Philippines Defense Minister and to some, it’s a bit of a surprise. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
Political rhetoric can differ from military reality.
That appears to be the case this week in the Philippines.
Since he took office last June, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has criticized the United States and late last year said he wanted all U.S. forces to leave the country.
This week, the Philippines defense minister announced the U.S. military will build new facilities and upgrade existing ones at several locations. That’s allowed under a deal reached in 2014, which lets the United States deploy troops, ships and aircraft to five military bases in the Philippines.
But President Duterte has said the Philippines is too dependent on its military alliance with the United States.
The constitution of the Philippines bars the permanent presence of any foreign military bases, but U.S. forces have been rotating through the country in greater numbers since the Obama Administration’s re-balance to Asia.
While the future of that policy remains uncertain under the Trump Administration, its continuity has some critical Congressional support.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain is proposing 7 and a half billion dollars in new funding for U.S. forces and their allies in the Asia Pacific region.