Philippine bases access accord will boost US arms sales ~ Philipine Daily Inquirer
The proposed Philippines-US bases access accord should be scrutinised for its hidden motives, to remove chaff from grain. The agreement will chain the Philippines as a permanent station for bolstering America&’s military presence in Asia-Pacific and its arms trade. Building the Philippines’ “minimum deterrence capability” in territorial feuds with China and ensuring a US shield against external aggression are just sound bytes. The corporate agenda is concealed by security objectives. Bases access was raised by Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin last year and again early this year in response to the territorial tensions with China in the West Philippine Sea and the North Korean missile crisis.
This month, President Benigno Aquino III confirmed bilateral talks with the USA on the bases access accord. He said bases access is also open to Japan, which has its own territorial row with China. To be clear, bases access is not the Philippines’ plan. Air/sea access is required by the Pentagon&’s “pivot to Asia” or rebalancing strategy, which repositions 60 per cent of America&’s global armed force to Asia by 2020, with Southeast Asia as a specific thrust. The strategy of keeping US supremacy in the region in the 21st century protects increased US investments and trade in Asia and minimises China&’s economic footprint while containing its maritime power to its national boundaries. Big budget allocations boost US air/sea power. Defence partnerships and air/sea access with the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and other countries are refitted for Pentagon&’s geostrategic goals.