The US and the Philippines are discussing a possible increase in the number of US military bases in the Southeast Asian country, Nikkei reported, citing the Philippine ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel Romualdez.
The US forces could use five bases in the country currently on a “rotating” basis as a part of the bilateral 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to “maintain ammunition, fuel, and medical supplies” at the bases for a range of responses, including natural disasters.
The outlet added that the agreement included a planned upgrade of “storage facilities and other infrastructure” at the bases, which has not been implemented.
According to Stars and Stripes, only a warehouse has been built at Cesar Basa Air Base on Luzon as part of the 2014 agreement, which included Antonio Bautista Air Base, Palawan; Benito Ebbed Air Base, Mactan; Cebu, Fort Magsaysay; Nuyeve Ecija, and Lumbia Airport, Cagayan de Oro.
Citing University of New South Wales emeritus professor Carlyle Thayer, Nikkei added that the US had asked for eight bases.
Additional Bases Include Navy
“Our military and the military of the United States are all looking into what are the possible areas,” Nikkei quoted Romualdez as saying, adding that the additional bases may include a naval base.
The ambassador told the outlet that the planned infrastructure development under the agreement could be completed in three years.
May Allow US Access in China-Taiwan Conflict
On the question of a possible China-Taiwan conflict, Romualdez told the outlet that Manila may let US forces use the country’s territory “if it is important for us, for our own security.”
Quoting a Pentagon spokesperson, the outlet wrote that they “seek to enhance the posture of our alliance to address new and emerging challenges.”
“We intend to continue to implement infrastructure projects at current EDCA locations and explore additional sites for further development.”