The United States just inked a deal with the Philippines, one that clears the way for a new permanent American military presence at five different installations in the P.I. The intent is the installations will support rotational deployments near a much-maligned region of the South China Sea. And who is less than thrilled about the deal, you ask? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed on Monday that agreements allowing further expansion of the US military presence in South China Sea will result in increased militarization of the region.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, the recent agreement between the US and the Philippines, allowing for a US military presence at five military bases in the South China Sea, threatens “third party interests and sovereignty.”
“Can they then explain, isn’t this kind of continued strengthening of military deployments in the South China Sea and areas surrounding it considered militarization?” she said.
This agreement was preceded by what the US has argued is militarization of the region by China, in building new airports and other military facilities on occupied islands in the region. The United States termed this activity ‘militarization’ and quickly moved to ensure freedom of navigation and overflights across the maritime sea. These actions include the presence of US Navy ships and aircraft based in northern Australia.