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Philippines offers U.S. access to military facilities

The United States military is being offered access to eight military facilities in the Philippines amid Philippine tensions with China.

By Richard Tomkins
Philippines offers U.S. access to military facilities
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter participate in a working lunch with, from left, Philippines Secretary of Defense Violtaire T. Gazmin and Philippines Secretary of Foreign Relations Albert F. Del Rosario, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2015. U.S. State Department photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The Philippines is allowing the U.S. military forces to have access to eight facilities in the country amid continuing tension with China.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, arrangements for the use of the bases were discussed Tuesday in Washington by Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Col. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said in Manila eight bases where the U.S. could store supplies included Clark and Subic Bay on the island of Luzon. Both were major, long-term U.S. military bases before they closed in 1991 because of damage from a volcano eruption and because of anti-American sentiment in the country. The closure of Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base ended nearly a century of U.S. military presence in the country.

"The list [was] prepared many months ago when we had earlier discussions," Padilla said. "These are still subject to approval and we're going to hold final discussions about these areas."

Padilla said five military airfields, two naval bases and a jungle training camp were offered to the United States.

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The talks in Washington came shortly after the Philippine Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

The Philippines is one of six Asian states disputing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea. It has asked for U.S. military help in rebuilding its military forces.

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