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Philippines may offer US naval base on western Palawan island

Published on May 15, 2014 7:36 PM
 
The Philippines wants to ensure US warships are closer to the disputed South China Sea by offering the United States an underdeveloped naval base on a western island, armed forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said on May 15, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines, aiming to boost its ability to defend offshore areas, wants to ensure US warships are closer to the disputed South China Sea by offering the US an underdeveloped naval base on a western island, its military chief has said.

China has stepped up its activities to assert its extensive claim over the energy-rich South China Sea.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over the sea, or parts of it, through which about US$5 trillion (S$6.3 trillion) of ship-borne goods pass every year.

Last month, the Philippines and the US signed an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) allowing US forces wider access to Philippine bases and building facilities for joint use in maritime security and disaster response.

 
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