US drastically expanding military presence in the Philippines

Russian TV: The US will significantly increase its military presence in the Philippines – an announcement that has angered China, whose Communist Party chief urged his military to prepare for a struggle and whose state-run media have criticized the agreement.

The US announced in 2011 that it would increase joint training exercises and ship visits to the Philippines in order to counter China’s growing influence in the region. These visits have been welcomed by Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III.

This month, the US announced that it would increase the number of troops, aircraft and ships that rotate through the Philippines. The announcement was made during the 3rd Phillipines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila, which was held Dec. 11-12. The two countries are expected to sign a five-year joint US-Philippine military exercise plan in their upcoming meetings, The Diplomat reported.

“There has been no discussion yet on specifics [of in-country military equipment] … (these are) policy consultations and the specifics would be determined by the technical working groups,” Lorenzo Batino, the Philippines deputy defense minister said at the annual dialogue.

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