Philippine officials are in talks with the Obama administration about expanding the U.S. military presence in the archipelago as part of the strategy to counter China in the Pacific.
Report of the talks first appeared on the Washington Post website on Wednesday, which said the negotiations are in the early stages but that both governments "are favorably inclined toward a deal."
Additional talks are scheduled on Thursday and Friday in Washington, the Post reported, with higher level meetings set for March.
"We can point to other countries: Australia, Japan, Singapore," an unnamed senior Philippine official involved in the talks told the Post. “We’re not the only one doing this, and for good reason. We all want to see a peaceful and stable region. Nobody wants to have to face China or confront China.”
Other recent agreements related to Obama’s China strategy include basing Marines in Australia as well as Navy ships in Singapore.
China's ministry of defense warned earlier this month that the United States needs to be "careful in its words and actions" about rethinking its defense posture across Asia in response to China's rise.
China has been expanding its naval might in the Pacific, adding submarines and an aircraft carrier, and it has also increased its missile and surveillance capabilities.
Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines was one of the largest U.S. military installations in the Pacific until it closed in 1991.
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