MANILA, July 12 (UPI) -- Washington and Manila are in negotiations on an expanded U.S. military role in the Philippines, officials said.
The agreement both countries are working toward would see the United States positioning military equipment and rotating personnel in the Philippines, but not re-establishing American bases in the country, The New York Times reported Friday.
"An access agreement would increase opportunities for joint military training and exercises and allow the pre-positioning of equipment and supplies enabling us to respond quickly to disasters," said Elizabeth Mesa, a spokeswoman for the American Embassy in Manila. "The United States is not seeking to create or reopen any military bases in the Philippines."
The Philippines has a small navy and air force and has been relying on assistance from the United States to modernize its military and upgrade its capabilities.
"We continue to talk and refine with the United States the modalities and parameters for increased rotational presence of United States forces in the Philippines," said Raul Hernandez, a spokesman for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.