Sunday, April 17, 2016

U.S. Stationing Warplanes in Philippines Amid South China Sea Tensions

Five American A-10 Thunderbolt ground-attack jets are 
among the Warplanes that will placed at Clark Air Base
 north of Manila
Move comes amid concern that Beijing plans to build a military outpost within striking distance of Manila
The U.S. will start stationing warplanes in the Philippines this week as the vanguard of a major deployment to the Southeast Asian country as Washington and its allies mount a coordinated response to Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.
The U.S. and the Philippines began joint patrols of the South China Sea last month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday on a visit to the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally that is among the five governments whose territorial claims overlap with China’s in those waters.
Tensions have been escalating as a United Nations-backed arbitration panel in The Hague prepares to rule in a case brought by the Philippines against China’s maritime claims.
Mr. Carter’s announcements came after he scrubbed a planned visit to Beijing as part of his Asian tour amid rising U.S. concerns over China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea and its recent deployment of weaponry on another disputed island. Defense officials cited scheduling difficulties as the official reason for canceling.
They also came after China summoned diplomatic envoys from the Group of Seven nations to protest over a statement they issued at a meeting in Japan this week opposing “coercive or provocative” action in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
U.S. allies have been bolstering defense ties with the Philippines, with Australia sending troops to participate in joint exercises with U.S. and Philippine forces, and Japan sending a submarine and two destroyers to visit a Philippine naval base this month.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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