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Philippines eyes greater US military presence amid China tensions

Published on Dec 10, 2012 9:39 PM
In this Oct. 25, 2012 file photo, U.S. sailors of Filipino descent, Marvin Balbuena, left, Ryan Regondola, center, and Spencer Rhoades, pose in front of a US Navy FA-18 fighter jet and a giant Philippine flag as they are presented for the media during a tour of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, off Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines, when the aircraft carrier fleet cruised through the disputed South China Sea in a show of American power in waters that are fast becoming a focal point of Washington's strategic rivalry with Beijing. Reports, yesterday, said Philippines was eyeing a greater US military presence in the region

MANILA (AFP) - US and Philippine officials will meet this week to discuss expanding American presence in the Asian nation, a senior diplomat said, amid tensions with China over its claims to vast waters in the region.

The meetings in Manila on Tuesday and Wednesday will have a special focus on defence and regional matters, Philippine Assistant Secretary for US affairs Carlos Sorreta told reporters.

"Foremost in the agenda is the increased rotational presence" of US forces in the Philippines, he said on Monday.

This refers to US troops and ships passing through the country for training or exercises, circumventing a constitutional ban on foreign bases in the Philippines.

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