Three decades after closing the largest American overseas military facilities at Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base, the governments of the Philippines and the United States continue negotiations to give American military greater access to the facilities as US forces reposition to face a looming threat from China, the Washington Post reports.
Days after Air Force General Mike Minihan told officers in his command to prepare for war with China in two years, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to travel to Manila this week to finalize a deal that will allow US forces greater access to Philippine military bases and ports, including along the northern coast of Luzon, a strategic location from which to defend Taiwan. The Biden Administration has been negotiating with Philippine President Bongbong Marcos since 2022 to renovate and reopen some US facilities on the island.
“[I]t’s a pretty big deal,” said Gregory Poling, director of the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This is significant not just in terms of what it means for a Taiwan or South China Sea contingency. This is a signal that the Philippines are all in on modernizing the alliance, and that they understand that a modern alliance means they have responsibilities, too.”