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Showing posts from March, 2014

Philippines offers U.S. forces access to military bases

The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China's increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The offer was made during a sixth round of talks held in Washington last week, Filipino officials said on Friday. The two sides hope to finalize terms before U.S. President Barack Obama embarks on a visit to Asia, including the Philippines, next month.
"Consensus was arrived at on many provisions of the draft agreement," Pio Lorenzo Batino, defense undersecretary told a news conference, adding the deal is 80 percent done.
"The proposed agreement will allow the sharing of defined areas within certain AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)facilities with elements of the U.S. military."
The United States plans to "rebalance" its forces in Asia-Pacific region, and has similar arrangements with …

Manila air-drops supplies to troops on disputed reef

The Philippines air-dropped food and water to soldiers posted on a grounded transport ship on a disputed South China Sea shoal, after China blocked two supply ships from reaching the troops, a senior navy official said on Wednesday.

Chinese ships patrolling waters around Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as the Ren'ai reef, on Sunday ordered the Philippine ships carrying construction materials to leave the area.
Beijing claims Manila is trying to start construction on the disputed reef after it ran aground an old transport ship in 1999 to mark its territory and stationed marines on the ship. Manila claims the Shoal is part of the Philippine's continental shelf.
"We only intend to improve the conditions there, we have no plans to expand or build permanent structures on the shoal," said a Philippines navy official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
"On Monday, we sent a navy Islander plane to drop f…

Philippines protests China stopping troop resupply

The Chinese coast guard prevented delivery of supplies to Filipino soldiers guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea and an envoy rejected a Philippine protest over the interference, officials said Tuesday.

Chinese ships prevented two Filipino civilian vessels hired by the Philippine navy from reaching Second Thomas Shoal on Sunday, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. The shoal is called Ayungin Shoal by Manila and Ren'ai Reef by the Chinese.
"Ayungin Shoal is part of the continental shelf of the Philippines and therefore, the Philippines is entitled to exercise sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in the area without the permission of other states," the statement said.
China's actions "constitute a clear and urgent threat to the rights and interests of the Philippines" under the Law of the Sea, it added.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the resupply was a routine activity that hasn't been int…