US military buildup continues in West Pacific as joint marine exercises kick off in Philippines

While both governments denied any link between their recent activities and the on-going dispute with China over territory in the West Philippine Sea, United States and Philippine military forces have started joint exercises in northern Luzon. The exercises which are expected to be conducted over ten days will reportedly focus on “disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and maritime security.”

Brig. Gen. Remigio C. Valdez, the deputy commander of the Philippine armed forces, stressed that the training was not related to the territorial dispute [with China].

“Technological advancement is at the heart of its goal,” he said.

[…]

Marines will conduct live-fire exercises, a simulated helicopter raid, a demonstration of American aircraft capabilities, disaster preparedness drills and public service activities like building classrooms and toilets in impoverished areas.

Two American vessels are currently docked at the former US naval base in Subic Bay: one of the US Navy’s most technologically-advanced ships, the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN-717) designed for supporting special operations missions and conducting covert surveillance; and the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) whose main function is to embark, deploy and land Marine forces by helicopter and amphibious vehicles.

US warship USS Bonhomme Richard

Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) commission head Edilberto Adan reportedly foresees “more assets, more aircraft in the Western Pacific” as part of the US’s efforts to undertake a “strategic rebalancing” of its forces.

“There are very few ports that can accommodate naval assets and naval carriers, and one of them is Subic.

“As the US begins to implement (the shift), Subic will play an important role because it is one of the important facilities that can service their presence in the Pacific.”

[Adan] said Subic could “provide the necessary port calls, port visits and servicing required by US assets, naval or aircraft”.

Interestingly, in mid-2012, left-leaning Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr, in a stroke of hysterical foresight, threw a monumental tantrum over what by then had become the evident buildup of US military assets in the region. According to Reyes, “The US plans to bring 60 percent of their warships to the region in the next ten years. The US also wants to make full use of their former bases in Subic and Clark. The US also plans on maintaining a rotational force in the Philippines, permanently based and in direct violation of the PH Constitution”.

Even further back in early 2011, media storms were already erupting in Manila over the first signs of this buildup after reports of “high level visits” by American officials to meet with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Olongapo City officials broke the news. Back then, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Eduardo Malaya denied reports of a return of the US to Subic under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

Indeed Filipinos, their politicians, their activists, and members of other so-called “cause-oriented” groups have long failed to come to terms with the reality of the Philippines’ absolute dependence on US military assistance in dealing with both internal and external military threats. Filipinos seem to prefer keeping themselves in a state of denial over the fact of its military ineptness and instead put up a cocky attitude towards what they perceive to be foreign intervention into their sovereign affairs. Back in the early 1990s, twelve senators duly elected by the popular vote (and as such presumably representing the Filipino people’s “will”) voted to boot the American Military out of Philippine shores

Thanks to the 12 bozos who voted against US military bases in the Philippines in 1991 — Senate President Jovito Salonga, Sens. Wigberto Tanada, Teofisto Guingona, Rene Saguisag, Victor Ziga, Sotero Laurel, Ernesto Maceda, Agapito Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Orlando Mercado, and Aquilino Pimentel — Filipinos have, right in their faces today, a sad lesson twenty years in the making in what it is like to languish outside the American sphere of what is globally relevant.

Yet recent developments in the region have called for strong military response from the Philippines and heightened the imperative to forge stronger military ties with its regional allies owing to on-going naval stand-offs with China in the West Philippine Sea and the increasing belligerence of North Korea which is aggressively testing long-range launch vehicles for its growing nuclear arsenal.

Other countries are also a lot more welcoming to US armed forces. A U.S. Marine base had already been established in the Australian city of Darwin which is only 500 miles south of Indonesia. The base is expected to become home to up to 2,500 troops when it reaches full strength. For its part, Australia is planning to spend up to $100 billion on expanding its navy and air force, presumably to improve its ability to defend the booming offshore oil and gas extraction sectors of its economy.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]

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23 Comments on "US military buildup continues in West Pacific as joint marine exercises kick off in Philippines"

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Bill Steffen
Guest

At first, I was disgusted…… Now I am merely amused.

Gogs
Member

Elvis Costello!!!

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

AN URGENT ASIDE. As we were distracted by the cyber-crime law and other events, BSA apparently supports the creation of a bangsamoro state within our state. This state has all the elements of a regular state. It can be recognized by other Islamic states and it can declare full independence. The danger of a rouge state rising in Philippine territory is real. The US military should take note of the threat.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/5390-miriam-bangsamoro-a-‘completely-independent-state’

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/5339-it‘s-still-a-state-within-a-state

ChinoF
Member

Wow, the Bonhomme Richard, with its complement of Harriers and Sea Knights.

And the Olympia is a 688 attack sub – an old model. These are basically old ships, not too impressive. Hehe

BenK
Editor

The Olympia is just the one the Navy is letting everyone see. There are at least four Virginia-class stationed in Pearl Harbor, I’d bet real money one of those is hanging around.

Hyden Toro
Guest

“Yankee come back”….the Chinese are here…

Legati
Guest
Indeed old yet, seaworthy, whose foggy ‘shadow’ is beyond the horizon on watch: Those bulwark flatforms’ are complemented with an iron will. What does Joe do? Train and train, school and school anywhere. The USN is not in the habit of impressing their materiel nor it confirms or deny the existence of USS Philippine Sea and USS Leyte Gulf. One never knows an LCS -Littoral Combat Ship- might portcall; Home-away-from-home: her crew to R&R, do local project, get friendly with the natives.. 😉 and while others a chance to visit their ancestral land. Unbeknownst to many when Subic Bay was… Read more »
T4Man
Guest

With the massive build-up of the Chinese Navy the US is looking for any reason to increase it’s presence in the area. It shouldn’t have gone unnoticed that China now has an aircraft carrier. That poses a significant threat to all of SEA. Yes, it’s true that the US most likely has submarines patrolling here as well since the Chinese have subs too. The US military needs a reason to avoid any more cuts to there budget. China seems willing to give them one. We are likely seeing the beginning of the next Cold War.

MR.KREIG
Guest

Oh please,that tug-boat russian left-over from the soviet union is lucky it can float.The U.S. Military is second to none and could end any conflict at anytime it chooses to do so,but it will not because prolonged ‘engagements’ are good for business.no worries.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

It is not only the Chinese the RP and USA has to worry about. The impending creation of an Islamic Bangsamoro state within our state complete with parliamentary government guided by Islamic law is a serious matter with grave implications. This can transform into a rogue state posing a grave security threat to both RP and the USA. BS Aquino is forcing peace at all costs without consultation from all stakeholders.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/5401-arm-and-a-leg-for-the-milf

MR.KREIG
Guest

A rogue state,HA.Seriously? What do you think they could do? The U.S.A. may appear to be losing a war in afghanistan,but they could bomb the fuck out of those people so fast it would make them beg for mercy.The current conflict,as all others, is good for business,thats all.

Aegis-Judex
Guest

It’s also a PR nightmare if Uncle Sam did bomb the A-stan to hell and back. The EU would go “ZOMFGWTFSBBQHAXOR????!!1” the entire ME would go “DEATH TO AMERICA!” and Ivan would really conspire with Red China to “KILL! MAIM! BURN!” Americans wherever they would be.

MR.KREIG
Guest
SADLY,the WEST’s CORPORATIONS dont give a SHIT if a few U.S. soldiers/ambassadors get whacked,THEY GET HERO’s funerals,don’t ya know? It is a different day,soon,IF after The WEST’s economies crash and burn..a CORPORATE ARMY will appear,ya know? Like,BLACKWATER CORP.,ON STEROIDS.BIG BUSINESS DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT PUBLIC OPINION.UNCLE SAM WENT OUT WITH THE 50’S.LOL! The U.S. Military doesn’t even need soldiers anymore,they just build schools.In less than 12 hrs.,if it wanted to,the U.S. Military could kill everything on this planet,and you think they give a shit what anyone thinks?The WEST’s CORPORATIONS just want to keep the cash register ringing,the little people… Read more »
MR.KREIG
Guest
There is nothing sinister a-float here.The WEST’S Corporations do all their manufacturing in China,they are not going to start a war.The slave Labor market in S.E.ASIA is vast and is being USED by the WEST’S Corporations as AMERICAN CITIZENS collect welfare/food stamps AND WATCH THEIR ECONOMY GET RAPED,AND THEY GET TO PAY FOR IT,WHILE GETTING NOTHING,HA!. The main reason they are here is to make sure the oil/mineral wealth extracted from the sea goes to who pays for the extraction,the WEST’S Corporations,and that it is done orderly.Any war will be well choreographed and acceptable losses may occur,all for the benefit… Read more »
Harry Hamster
Guest

Your an idiot.

Harry Hamster
Guest

Some people were born idiots some were led along the path and have it confirmed to others by their dopey on line rants that have no validity and do not pass even casual glances let alone real scrutiny, In your case you are the unique combination of two unfortunate occurrences , not only being born stupid but also writing stupid stuff and posting it on line.

T4Man
Guest

I’m not seeing where anyone talked about actually warfare. This is about posturing. If we can get past the emotional outbursts it becomes clear that the motivations of the countries involved are similar. As it was during the US/USSR Cold War this too will be about political and economic influence. Successful empires have always used the military to their ensure economic interests in foreign lands. China thinks they can bully their way in and the US wants to send the opposite message.

monk
Guest

The issue is much more complex, as China is a main trading partner of the US, PH, and even AU.

Ultimately, CH is following what the US did in the past. The difference is that the former is becoming stronger and the latter weaker.

Harry Hamster
Guest

Actually you could not be more wrong, it is NOT following in the path of the USA at all. I wont give you a history lesson but suffice it to say, even though it may have turned out or at the time WAS wrong, the ideals of the principals of US state policy was freedom, This IS NOT the case with the Chinese policy ONE LITTLE BIT!

Harry Hamster
Guest
AhhH once again trash writen on the internet – sic, Australia does NOT have any US bases on it’s soil an aint about to git ennneee. WHAT IT HAS DONE, is invite the US marines to enjoy Australian facilities in a co operative manner. There has been NO mention of US bases – only in the (??) minds of people who write trash. Furthermore the Australian forces are the ONLY force in the entire world who spend more to put a man in the field that the USA. Incredible but TRUE! Additional truth is that although NOT in the same… Read more »
Edward m
Guest
This guy summarizes it all so eloquently: here is an excerpt Indeed Filipinos, their politicians, their activists, and members of other so-called “cause-oriented” groups have long failed to come to terms with the reality of the Philippines’ absolute dependence on US military assistance in dealing with both internal and external military threats. Filipinos seem to prefer keeping themselves in a state of denial over the fact of its military ineptness and instead put up a cocky attitude towards what they perceive to be foreign intervention into their sovereign affairs. Back in the early 1990s, twelve senators duly elected by the… Read more »
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