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US, Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines

This is a discussion on US, Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; US, Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines By Joseph Santolan 29 June 2013 On June 27, at a ...


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Old June 29th, 2013   #1
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US, Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines

US, Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines
By Joseph Santolan
29 June 2013

On June 27, at a press conference in Quezon City, Philippines, Philippine Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin and his Japanese counterpart, Itsunori Onodera, announced that the Philippines would establish basing arrangements with both the US and Japanese militaries. China was the explicit target of this move allowing the US and Japan to station military personnel and equipment in the Philippines.

At the press conference, Gazmin called China “the oppressive neighbor” and the “bully at our doorstep.” He stated, “At this point in time, we cannot stand alone. We need allies. If we don’t do this, we will be bullied by bigger powers and that is what is happening now: there is China, sitting on our territory.”Onodera is in the Philippines on a two-day official visit. In discussions of the disputed waters of the South China Sea, he pledged to help the Philippines defend “its remote islands.”

Onodera also announced that Japan would officially back the Philippines’ claim of territorial sovereignty, which is currently being adjudicated by the United National Commission on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). These statements constitute an unprecedented acknowledgement by Japan of the validity of the Philippine claim to the disputed waters.

There is a continuing, two-month armed stand-off between Philippine marines stationed on one of the islands in question and the Chinese navy.

“We agreed that we will further cooperate in terms of the defense of remote islands... the defense of territorial seas as well as protection of maritime interests,” Onodera continued. He stated that Japan was “very concerned that this kind of situation in the South China Sea could affect the situation in the East China Sea,” referring to ongoing Sino-Japanese disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Both Defense Ministers called for an increased US military presence in the region, and specifically for basing US forces in the Philippines. Onodera said that “both sides agreed that the US presence is a very important public asset in East Asia.”

The Chinese embassy in Manila issued a statement Thursday, asking the Philippines and the United States “not to exacerbate tensions in the area.” Beijing’s response to Filipino-Japanese talks was sharper. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi denounced them as the “path of confrontation,” stating that they are “doomed.” He added that countries that “try to reinforce their poorly grounded claims through the help of external forces” would find the strategy a “miscalculation not worth the effort.”

There is an escalating US intervention to include US allies in the region in military alliances directed against China. Recent years have not only seen Washington back Japanese claims on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, but also develop military bases in Australia and basing agreements for US littoral combat ships in Singapore.

Preparations to restore the basing of the US military in the Philippines have been long in the making. They were made public in January 2012, during the 2+2 meeting held in Washington between then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and their Philippine counterparts . The details of the basing arrangements are now becoming clearer. Manila is preparing a 70-acre facility at the former Subic Naval Base to house US warships and fighter planes. Upgrades on the site will cost some US$230 million. An airbase is being prepared on Cagayan de Oro, on the southern island of Mindanao.

Some of these bases are now being prepared for Japanese troops and equipment, as well. While the troops stationed in the Philippines would be rotated in and out of the country, this would constitute the permanent stationing the so-called ‘self-defense forces’ outside Japan. If carried through, this unprecedented move would mark the reemergence of Japan as an global imperialist military power.

This move is a further step in Tokyo’s long-standing drive to remilitarize Japan, with Washington’s backing. The Philippines have played a key role in this process. In December 2012, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told the Financial Times that Manila would support the scrapping of the so-called pacifist clause in the Japanese constitution, which has inhibited Japanese remilitarization, citing tensions with China as the justification.

Gazmin said that Manila would “allow the United States, Japan and other allies access to its military bases under the plan to roll back China’s expansive claims in the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea].” What other “allies” were also discussing basing arrangements with the Philippines was not disclosed.

The twentieth century saw the Philippines subjected to the brutal colonial rule of two imperialist powers, the United States and Japan, both of which the Filipino ruling class collaborated with. Under the leadership of President Benigno Aquino, they are actively functioning as the proxies of the same imperialist powers. As Washington recklessly pursues its drive to encircle China, the Philippines is being prepared as the staging point for a global war.

The Philippine constitution explicitly bans all “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities.” This ban is being cynically circumvented by having the Philippine government maintain the base facilities, at which the foreign troops are stationed as so-called “guests.”

During the meeting between Onodera and Gazmin, Washington launched a six-day joint military training exercise with Philippines in South China Sea. Five hundred US military personnel and an equal number of Filipinos are engaged in a series of war games of a calculatedly provocative nature.

The USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, and the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the Philippine navy's flagship, staged naval maneuvers in waters less than 50 miles from the disputed shoal where Filipino marines are occupying a facility surrounded Chinese naval vessels. The exercise’s stated aim was “to intercept suspected enemy ships, board them and seize materials they may be carrying that could pose a danger to allies.”

The use of the terms “enemy ships” and “allies” is a marked escalation of rhetoric previously used to justify the war games. Previous war games allegedly targeted regional piracy, conducted rescue operations, or defended maritime trade. The 2013 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises are now couched in the language of global war.

At Cavite naval base, six miles south of Manila, US military personnel trained their Filipino counterparts in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They launched and remotely guided Puma surveillance drones from a boat in the South China Sea. The Philippine navy also received training in naval gunnery.

The intensifying US military drive in the region finds expression in the fact that in first five months of 2013, 72 US warships and submarines have visited Subic Bay, compared with 88 for the entirety of 2012; 54 in 2011; and 51 in 2010, according to Filipino government figures.

US, Japan to establish military bases in the Philippines - World Socialist Web Site


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and off we go........
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Old June 29th, 2013   #2
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Japan put offensive military asets overseas ? That will made certain amount of adjustment within Japanese political conciousness.
Philippines has no choice though, base on their own procurement and modernisation track record, it's very dificult to see them amassing enough deterence within even a decade. Still will be interested to see this work within internal Philippines politics.
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Old June 29th, 2013   #3
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Japan put offensive military asets overseas ? That will made certain amount of adjustment within Japanese political conciousness.
Philippines has no choice though, base on their own procurement and modernisation track record, it's very dificult to see them amassing enough deterence within even a decade. Still will be interested to see this work within internal Philippines politics.
There is a fair amount of anger over the way that the chinese have been pushing their claims on the Spratlys/Paracels, so this not really unexpected

as much as the chinese have tried to exploit the japanese behaviour in WW2 the reality for the majority of neighbours in this region is that the japanese have never been aggressive in their politics and have been long term donors of aid, they are regarded as less onorous partners and they haven't caused ructions amongst the locals as has happened in other places (incl central africa)

eg look at examples like the 2004 Tsunami and what the two major asian powers respectively did to assist.
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Old June 29th, 2013   #4
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as much as the chinese have tried to exploit the japanese behaviour in WW2 the reality for the majority of neighbours in this region is that the japanese have never been aggressive in their politics and have been long term donors of aid, they are regarded as less onorous partners and they haven't caused ructions amongst the locals as has happened in other places (incl central africa)
There's no doubt that majority of SEA nation (except Cambodia and Myanmar), will be more comfortable with Japan then China. WW 2 has been ended nearly 70 years ago, and Japan is the biggest Investor and one of the largest trading partner for most SEA nations.

My concern mostly with what internal Japanese politics will be in the future considering any military tied up with any SEA nation. Philippines will also facing some internal challenges it self on opeing bases for foreign troops, after they close down Subic 2 decades ago. However considering what most Philippines public mood right now on the matter of China and SCS issue, I do feel it will be minority.

Japan already supporting Philippines coast guard, but they also done similar thing with Indonesian Coast Guard. However coast guard mostly are civilian entity, and for me it will open to see, what Japanese internal politics moved when they talked about cooperating and supporting foreign military entity on long term policies.

It will be taking further step than supporting coalition forces on logistics. This could end up on supporting Philippines naval operation perhaps on join patrol and survailance or even supporting them on teritorial issues. Again this is only possibilities, but when you are already committed some of your military assets overseas, that can be what you end up with.

Based on the communique and statement, it's for me clear that Philippines intended to increase the pressure to China for changing approach when dealing on SCS issues. I have put on my earlier posts on the thread on SCS issue, that no other nation in the region will let by if China intended to wrest control and try to dominate SCS by it self. How far this is, on the counter moved, will remain to be seen.
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Old June 30th, 2013   #5
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Just to add, If Japan will be more open on military cooperation with SEA nation, for my self, I rather have Indonesian AF considering future C-130 replacement with Kawasaki C-2, rather than A-400. Well that's my personal liking, not going to happen considering EADS large influences with DI/IAe, and thus Indonesian Mindef procurement policies on the transport plane..

Anyway, it will not come to consideration before 2020..well enough on the off topic thinking..
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I personally would love to see Japan take off the pacifist gloves and bring back their bushido. I'm sure Washington is heavily trying to persuade them to do the same. WW2 is water under the bridge and a military minded Japan would be a strong counter point to China. I put Japanese goods on a shelf, I throw Chinese goods in the trash.

Give em their guns back.

Mod: The tone of your post is unacceptable. You need to come back and do some serious self moderation before a Mod does it for you. Whatever strategic and political differences exist between countries doesn't give anyone in here license to cause national disharmony in here,

we expect everyone to show restraint and respect to the same level that they would expect to see it demonstrated and articulated for their own country.


Delete it if you don't like it, my opinion was voiced. The day I start "moderating my points" is when I become a communist.

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Old July 1st, 2013   #7
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Japan already supporting Philippines coast guard, but they also done similar thing with Indonesian Coast Guard.
Japan has also provided substantial aid to the Malaysian Maritime Agency [MMEA], including a training vessel, RDF equipment, RHIBs and NVGs. This aid is intended to better enable the MMEA to monitor the Melaka Straits, which of vital importance to Japan.

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Old July 1st, 2013   #8
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MMEA, KPLP (Indonesian Sea and Coast Guard), Philippines Coast Guard, show the patern of Japanese Security cooperation with SEA nations are with Non Military/Civilian security establishment. Japan also increase the cooperation with Indonesian Police, especially after Indonesian Police being removed from Soeharto era's Military organisation structure.

None of the above show Japanese cooperation with SEA military establishment. Thus if Abe government really intent to put Japanese Self Defence force assets within Philippines teritory, and that game's changging rule in Japanese relations cooperation with SEA nations.

This in my oppinion put considerable shift within Internal Japanese politics. How far this will be implemented in the future, that's will be interesting to see.
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Delete it if you don't like it, my opinion was voiced. The day I start "moderating my points" is when I become a communist.
It's a shame you can't take the time to understand why the forum rules are as they are, and you immediately discount any such behaviour on your own part as "communist". You are truly mistaken if you think this place is anything like that. Not that it matters now.
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Delete it if you don't like it, my opinion was voiced. The day I start "moderating my points" is when I become a communist.
Congratulations on earning your perm-ban. This forum is moderated and this behaviour will not be tolerated. Thanks for playing the how fast you can get banned, game.
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Old July 1st, 2013   #11
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majority of filipinos approves US, Japan Basing

because of a very weak armed forces, the philippines have no choice but to sekk the help of friendly countries like the US and Japan. the proposed basing of foreign military forces has the approval of the majority of the filipinos. china doen'st respect a small neighbor like us and the latest threat of a "coutnerstrike" smacks of arrogance in the highest form that can only be countered with the presence of strong friendly forces. the philippines tried to sought the collective stance of asean member countries but each has their own agenda. myanmar and cambodia for one are more pro-chinese than pro-territorial rights. while malaysia only said they "respect" the philippines' right to invoke the unclos. as aside, asean is irrelevant!
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I would like to question the reporter's reliability.

While Onodera did indeed say that Japan supports Philippine's claim(1), he made no mention of bases.

Philippine defence minister Gazmin did say that Philippine needs allies(2), but he said it in context of allowing US and Japan to use Philippine naval bases, which is different from a foreign base in their territory.

I am doubting that the writer for World Socialist Web Site is interpreting the statements correctly. As an opinion piece the article might be defensible, but as news it wasn't confirmed. I checked two Philippine defence forums and the website of the newspaper Philippine Star (philstar.com) prior to writing this and I see nothing that could be construed as verification. One would think that the news of Japan establishing a base in the Philippine would have set them abuzz, but there was absolutely nothing about this. There are some support for asking the US to reuse Subic again, but absolutely nothing about Japan. It seems that the part about Japan establishing a base in the Philippine is entirely the reporter's misinterpretation.

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Old July 3rd, 2013   #13
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18 point reply to: (i) gemarcher23's emotional rant; and (ii) tonnyc's excellent first post, spread across three posts to put the latest developments in context.

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because of a very weak armed forces, the philippines have no choice but to seek the help of friendly countries like the US and Japan. the proposed basing of foreign military forces has the approval of the majority of the filipinos.
1. We really prefer members who contribute rather than post childish emotional rants (without sources), that deserve a little correction on the 3 Cs of candor, competence, and conviction - all of which are lacking in the ruling political oligarchies of the Philippines. What you see now, is years of under-investment in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by a political leadership that is deeply skeptical of the military, given the number of prior attempted coups conducted by rogue elements of the AFP since the fall of Marcos. The AFP has a problem with its reputation because from 1972 to 1981, it was an army that had a country (not a country with an army). Further, the local media hysteria with respect to the grounding of USS Guardian on 17 Jan 2013 showed the degree of Pinoy ambivalence to US military presence.

2. As the saying goes, lions do not care for the opinions of sheep, and you belong to a herd of sheep. Let me expand your limited understanding the harsh geo-strategic realities of the world, with three conceptual issues that you may not have considered:-
One, resourcing the AFP is the responsibility of the Government of the Philippines -- it is NOT the responsibility of the US or Japan to pay for your country's defence. Normal people in other countries understand this. There is a world of difference between having capability gaps and being not capable.

Two, not only is your defence spending on the low side (at about 0.9% to 1.2% of the country's GDP), the money is spent poorly. Let me illustrate with an over-simplified comparison between the Philippines (a country with a population of about 92 million and a 2011 GDP of US$213.13 billion) with Brunei (a country with a population of about 380 thousand and a 2011 GDP of US$15.5 billion).
Brunei has built a navy is more capable and advanced that that of the Philippines. It's not just in area of brand new, 80 metre Darussalam Class OPVs, where they are superior. Brunei also operates CN 235MPAs, which give them an over-the-horizon targeting ability. The Philippines' annual defence budget is about 5 times more than Brunei's defence budget. Yet, they have a more capable navy with a over-the-horizon targeting ability. Think of the standards set by Brunei as the 42 inch high hurdle of minimum naval capability for a self-respecting ASEAN nation. The recent Philippine acquisition of two over 40-year old former US coast guard vessels represents clearing a 16 inch hurdle of basic naval capability. Buying harpoon missiles to arm them and equipping them with a hull mounted sonar, can be likened to raising the bar by another 16 inches, to the total height of 32 inches (ten inches lower than a standard hurdle).
Three, despite the fact that the Philippine Navy in 2006 created 15-year 'sail plan', the plan does not match the resources. No wonder nothing gets done. Technologically, the Philippines has the least advanced naval ships of any claimant in the South China Sea. Normal people understand that, if the AFP is incapable of defending itself (against external and internal enemies), the country is not sovereign. Patrolling your EEZ waters is your country's own responsibility. This role cannot be outsourced to an ally. If you don't or cannot effectively patrol your country's waters, you are not sovereign in those waters.
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china doen'st respect a small neighbor like us and the latest threat of a "coutnerstrike" smacks of arrogance in the highest form that can only be countered with the presence of strong friendly forces.
3. I've got news for you. It's not only China's media. Be honest. Who would demand respect a navy or an air force that can be spanked by any other claimant? Tiny Brunei's missile equipped navy can spank your navy that is armed like a coast guard, at any time. The continued presence of numerous insurgent groups within your borders, and their continued and occasional killing members of the AFP, means local insurgents do not respect the AFP. For others to respect you, you must first respect yourself. There are 3Cs lacking in any discussion about Philippines, namely, the lack of candor, the lack of competence, and the lack of conviction. Let us look at the three inter-related factors for some context:-
One, your politicians lack the candor to tell the Philippine electorate that building and sustaining a proper navy and a proper air force requires money and sacrifice (against other competing domestic priorities). Instead, of a commander-in-chief, you have elected a beggar-in-chief; where you have Philippine politicians begging other countries to give your country ships or aircraft. Media coverage of the disputes in the South China Sea from the Philippine press perspective is not comprehensive, and most analysis based on this sort of bias in coverage is misleading; it is misleading because it misses the 'real action' of the geo-strategic chess game being played among competing powers in Asia.

Two, your politicians lack competence in defence and alliance management. In December 2011, the Philippine President spoke about asking the US for EDA F-16s. As we know now, the US answer is NO. Why NO? Your President spoke out of turn because he did not know that your country's air force does not have the institutional capability to train fighter pilots, nor the ability to sustain F-16s even if they were given to the Philippines. The fact that the Philippine President spoke out of turn, is a reflection of chronic incompetence. It is not in US interest to embarrass the Philippine Presidency. Your country's incompetence in alliance management, laid bare how poorly your air force is regarded in professional circles. President Aquino III amplified his incompetence with a speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary on 21 May 2013. Like most external obsevers, Rigoberto D. Tiglao of Manila Times, also thought poorly of President Aquino III’s speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary on 21 May 2013. He describes it as: "Aquino rattles non-existent saber". This editorial opinion suggests that your President is incompetent, when speaking on matters of defence. Respect is earned and it is hard to respect a leader that has demonstrated incompetence more than once.

Three, AFP procurement officials lack the conviction to learn from past mistakes. Despite all the talk, it is clear that your country has not fixed the slow and broken procurement system - instead the Philippine Department of Defense pretends to do work by sending out a never ending stream of press releases. Since 2012, the AFP openly discussed acquiring Lead-In-Fighter-Trainer and Surface Attack Aircraft (LIFT/SAA) from South Korea (an essential tool if the Philippine Air Force were to go back into the business of training fighter pilots again). Till today, no contract has been signed between the parties for any LIFT/SAA. So enough with the modernisation by press release. Please get your country's act together.
4. Beyond the fact that the Philippine Senate voted not to renew the lease to US bases in 1991 (resulting in their closure), we also have to look back to some events in the 2003 to 2004 period for another example of this lack of reliability by the Philippines. On 20 May 2003, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) spoke of "unshakable resolve" in their support for the US in the White House on the 'War on Terror' (after the US invasion of Iraq on 19 March 2003). In return, the Bush II Administration provided Philippines with US$1 billion in benefits on the generalised system of preferences, increased quotas on textiles from the Philippines and a US$200 million special line of credit. Unfortunately, James Tyner (2005), writing on "Iraq, Terror and the Philippines will to War", described your country's approach at page 94:-
(i) as "a member of the Coalition of Opportunists", who tried to capitalize on the Iraqi reconstruction efforts and angle for a piece of the action. Tyner quoted the then Philippines Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo as saying: "We have the names of 1 million workers, from skilled mechanical engineers to crane operators, with passports and are ready to go... But, when it comes to skilled labour, we definitely have the value added..."; and

(ii) fourteen months later, that "unshakable resolve" collapsed. In April 2004 a Filipino was abducted and in July 2004, another Filipino truck driver was abducted. In GMA administration's attempt to get the 2nd Filipino abductee released, Philippines gave in to the demands of the abductors and ordered the withdrawal of the Philippines' 51-strong contingent from Iraq. Subsequently, the GMA administration also banned Filipinos from working in Iraq.
5. The above incident clearly demonstrated to the Americans that when the going gets tough, the Philippines get going. Given the lack of candor, the lack of competence, and the lack of conviction on the part of the Philippines to fix what is broken, there is limited patience with unresolved issues in the US-Philippine alliance. Following the short but sharp down turn in the relations with the US (after the withdrawal of the AFP contingent from Iraq), Manila upgraded its relations with Beijing. This included annual defence talks and a visit to China by GMA in September 2004. In return the PRC donated US$1.2 million in heavy engineering equipment to the Philippines (6 bulldozers and 6 motorgraders). Despite the ups and downs of the US-Philippines relations, the US is traditionally interested in peace time and contingency access for its forces passing through the Philippines (or via over-flight).

6. If I may be candid with a person like you? Especially one that lacks competence on the larger geo-political issues. You have failed to take into account three important issues:-
(i) Obama's Asia pivot (which other ASEAN diplomats like to call re-balancing) is not a Philippines pivot. The Philippines is not in the list of other nations to be visited by Obama for the remainder of 2013, although he would in the neighborhood — in Indonesia (his third visit) for the APEC summit and to Brunei for the ASEAN meet both in October. For perspective, the Philippines will join Vietnam and Laos as the only countries among the ASEAN 10 that Obama has not visited (demonstrating your country's lack of relevance to the Americans); and

(ii) the Americans are increasingly looking for burden sharing partners and not an unreliable ally that is traditionally a burden. IMHO, the Philippines is a burden that the US; and they are seeking Japan's help in this case to jointly carry the burden. While both US and Japan are concerned about China's rise, they are not openly hostile to China. In reality the North East Asian powers of South Korea and Japan are far more concerned about a nuclear North Korea than your economic interests. The US and Japan need to work with China to manage the North Koreans. Along with other American allies and partners, the Chinese Navy (PLAN) has been invited by the US Navy to participate in the “Rim of the Pacific” exercise, RIMPAC 2014 (an invitation the PLAN accepted). As the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, said on 1 June 2013:-
'Building a positive and constructive relationship with China is also an essential part of America’s rebalance to Asia. The United States welcomes and supports a prosperous and successful China that contributes to regional and global problem solving. To this end, the United States has consistently supported a role for China in regional and global economic and security institutions, such as the G20. We encourage our allies and partners to do the same.'
(iii) Kindly note Japanese policy makers do not mention the Philippines or ASEAN, given the lack of advanced naval capabilities in the littoral states with maritime claims to stand as counterweight in the South China Sea. As Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister noted with regards to his concept of a security diamond:
'The ongoing disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea mean that Japan’s top foreign-policy priority must be to expand the country’s strategic horizons. Japan is a mature maritime democracy, and its choice of close partners should reflect that fact. I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific. I am prepared to invest, to the greatest possible extent, Japan’s capabilities in this security diamond...

...I would also invite Britain and France to stage a comeback in terms of participating in strengthening Asia’s security... The United Kingdom still finds value in the Five Power Defense Arrangements with Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. I want Japan to join this group...

...I, for one, admit that Japan’s relationship with its biggest neighbor, China, is vital to the well-being of many Japanese. Yet, to improve Sino-Japanese relations, Japan must first anchor its ties on the other side of the Pacific; for, at the end of the day, Japan’s diplomacy must always be rooted in democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.'
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Old July 3rd, 2013   #14
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the philippines tried to sought the collective stance of asean member countries but each has their own agenda. myanmar and cambodia for one are more pro-chinese than pro-territorial rights.
7. Normal people should not blame other countries that have been trying to help your country, for things your country fails to do. I am also sure you are not aware that recently, the Singapore Defence Minister spoke-out for Philippine concerns in his speech at the fifth plenary session of 2013 SLD. Other members of ASEAN, do believe in standing together with the Philippines and are not neutral, but its another thing entirely to demonstrate open hostility to a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Demonstrating open hostility to China, as permanent member of the UN Security Council is against the national interest of other ASEAN members, especially since the US has said that it wants to work with China. ASEAN members have limited patience with your country's chronic political bullsh!t of blaming others for your country's inability to execute.

8. Before you criticise ASEAN (which is actively engaged in diplomatic efforts), kindly take note of three key facts:-
(i) On the boat that is ASEAN, the various Philippine administrations have often behave like a tantrum throwing passenger, instead of rowing along with other ASEAN crew members. Your country is noted for neither providing leadership nor contributing effectively as a member of ASEAN. Reflecting the lack of commitment to resource the AFP, the Philippines is a power in relative decline viz-a-viz all other founding members of ASEAN. Frankly speaking, Philippines is a benefit taker and seldom a benefit giver, as the examples below illustrate:-
one, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are playing a role in the Philippines with their peace negotiations in Mindanao by contributing to the International Monitoring Team;

two, after Typhoon Bopha in Dec 2012, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management deployed assets and provided relief) and further, the Indonesian government donated four tons of relief goods and US$1 million to the Philippines. The donation was handed over to the AFP; and

three, the Sultan of Brunei, as Head of State and Chairman of ASEAN (with Brunei holding the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2013) has traveled extensively and visited every capital of each dialogue partner, to advance ASEAN and the Plus Eight discussions; and working together with Thailand (the ASEAN Dialogue Coordinator with China), they are trying hard to advance discussions relating to the management of maritime disputes in the South China Sea. US State Department officials have not only noted the hard work done to keep lines of communications open but they also understand that when the talking stops, shooting may start.
(ii) With the Philippine administrations' misguided sense of self-importance and lack of urgency, the Philippine administration in power, at times, can be difficult partners for other ASEAN members and other plus 8 partners in a range of matters (eg. The prior GMA administration expressed an interest in signing a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SVFA), each, with Australia, Singapore and Japan, but failed to follow up after the respective draft SVFAs have been circulated and 6 to 7 years later, the Aquino Administration only successfully submitted the SVFA with Australia to the Philippine Senate for ratification - which occurred on 24 July 2012).

(iii) Further, on 21 Nov 2012, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario demonstrated their ability to make an announcement (that Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam will meet on 12 Dec 2012) without doing the ground work necessary (or win support from fellow ASEAN claimants to hold a meeting). This sort of failure is your country's own fault.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemarcher23 View Post
while malaysia only said they "respect" the philippines' right to invoke the unclos. as aside, asean is irrelevant!
9. I agree that ASEAN is not relevant. ASEAN is not relevant because it, as an organisation, is not a party to a bilateral maritime dispute between China and the Philippines. Further, while the rest of ASEAN would occasionally like to accommodate Philippine concerns, progress in managing the relationship with China will not be held hostage by the current Philippine agenda. As US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 1 July 2013:-
'And with regard to the South China Sea, I will say this: As a Pacific nation, and the resident power, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. As we have said many times before, while we do not take a position on a competing territorial claim over land features, we have a strong interest in the manner in which the disputes of the South China Sea are addressed and in the conduct of the parties. We very much hope to see progress soon on a substantive code of conduct in order to help ensure stability in this vital region.'
10. Your unfounded whining about ASEAN reflects on your inability to understand the issues (see these comments on ASEAN by Tim Huxley for details). ASEAN is dynamic regional organisation that is occasionally envied for its ability to punch above its weight in international matters. Instead of blaming others, blame your incompetent politicians for your country's inability to work in-concert with other ASEAN members. Like the US, ASEAN itself is not a party to the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. ASEAN member states:-
(i) are finding a way to move on to manage the issue with China (including the crucial task of keeping the lines of communications open between China and ASEAN member states). Most ASEAN members seek to improve their relationship with the US and China at the same time with some more beholden to aid from one side;

(ii) have given voice to concerns of the Philippines at numerous international events (to assist the Philippines in voicing its concerns); and

(iii) understand that tact is required to navigate the shoals of Philippine nationalism, but will not be willfully blind to your country's failings (including its status as, the least prepared, among the five founding ASEAN members, to meet current security challenges).
If you are still unhappy with the candor in the above conversation, please petition your Philippine Government to leave ASEAN, and stand alone. Or will you lack the courage to demand meaningful change from your incompetent politicians?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
I am doubting that the writer for World Socialist Web Site is interpreting the statements correctly. As an opinion piece the article might be defensible, but as news it wasn't confirmed.
11. I understand where you are coming from and why you are skeptical of the source. In this case, they have broken the news faster than Philippine sources. RAPPLER on 2 July 2013 reported that President Benigno Aquino III said:
'There are only two strategic partners that we have. It is America and Japan.... If we don't coordinate with them and fix our systems for a possible disturbance, I think that is wrong preparation. That is the absence of preparation.'
12. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the government is drafting plans to allow US forces to spend extended time on the Philippines' military bases. He said the same plan will be offered to Japan's military. The plan drew mixed reactions.

13. Further since late 2001/early 2002, US Special Forces have been operating in the Philippines under the guise of providing aid to their ally in foreign internal defence (FID) against terrorist groups operating in the Philippines. These types of FID missions are focused on community out-reach and in providing training to improve the effectiveness of Philippine forces. However, this does not mean that the US is not aware of the chronic and unresolved problem of extrajudicial killings in the Philippine political system. See this link dated 23 June 2012, where the US embassy in Manila said that the US Congress withheld US$3 million in Foreign Military Financing from the Philippine government in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012:-
'To obtain these funds, the Philippine government must demonstrate it is continuing to take effective steps to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings; strengthening government institutions working to eliminate extrajudicial killings; investigating, prosecuting, and punishing military personnel and others who have been credibly alleged to have violated internationally recognized human rights; and ensuring the Armed Forces of the Philippines is not engaging in acts of violence or intimidation against members of legal organizations who advocate for human rights.''
If you read carefully, the US Congress is aware that rogue members of the AFP are directly involved in extrajudicial killings; and this is a current problem.
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Old July 9th, 2013   #15
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Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
I checked two Philippine defence forums and the website of the newspaper Philippine Star (philstar.com) prior to writing this and I see nothing that could be construed as verification.
14. See this RAPPLER article on 'Give Australia, ASEAN access to PH bases'', and this picture thread on ASEAN (and ADMM Plus) Military Exercises for context. Brunei should be proud of how well they executed in their role as host country in the recently concluded ADMM Plus HADR and MM exercise. ADMM-Plus has moved bodly, with the conduct of a joint HADR and MM exercise involving over 3,200 personnel from the 18 ADMM-Plus militaries with two other ADMM-Plus full troop exercises - in maritime security and counter-terrorism later this year. That the ADMM-Plus can move from dialogue to cooperation within a span of a few short years is a significant achievement at the political, policy and operational levels.

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Originally Posted by Ananda View Post
Philippines will also facing some internal challenges it self on opeing bases for foreign troops, after they close down Subic 2 decades ago. However considering what most Philippines public mood right now on the matter of China and SCS issue, I do feel it will be minority.

Japan already supporting Philippines coast guard, but they also done similar thing with Indonesian Coast Guard. However coast guard mostly are civilian entity, and for me it will open to see, what Japanese internal politics moved when they talked about cooperating and supporting foreign military entity on long term policies.
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Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
One would think that the news of Japan establishing a base in the Philippine would have set them abuzz, but there was absolutely nothing about this.
15. You have got to put this in context of this older US idea of 'places not bases' (during the era of Robert Gates as Defense Secretary), where the US and Japan want access to Philippine bases (but not quite a return to the days of pre-1991 Subic and Clark bases, in this period of budget austerity for the US). When the US talks about a 'pivot' to Asia, there are distinct phases, where the US had in the past pivoted away from Asia, and this happened more than once in modern history.
The first US pivot away from Asia occurred in mid-1970s, with the Paris Peace Accords, which resulted the US withdrawal of ground troops from South Vietnam (i.e. the US pivot away from mainland South East Asia). While South Vietnam, was an official US ALLY, and it was allowed to fail, as a state. I see the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975, as the date on which the US pivoted away from mainland SE Asia. For Thailand, this was a pivotal moment, when they understood that they were an US ally, and if they lost against the communists, they would also be allowed to fail. This turning point and the failure of the Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam), showed Thailand that it must build relations with China to manage the threat presented by Vietnam, back then.

The second US pivot away from Asia occurred in the early-1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991. It is at this moment that the Philippines decided that they no longer needed the US and refused to renew the leases to the American bases in the 1991/2 period. For all of maritime South East Asia (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), this was a pivotal moment - in which Singapore understood to be an event not in ASEAN's interest (which is why Singapore, at that moment offered to host a logistics presence for US forces). Citizens of Philippines do not understand their country's role is forcing US out of maritime South East Asia (during the peace dividend, after the fall of the Soviet Union).
16. This latest report on Japan looking at basing is conceptually not very different from the Japan Self-Defense Force setting up a Liaison Office in Djibouti for counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden (see this CTF-151 news release) and is not even ground breaking for the Japanese in their current approach of hedging to manage the changing geo-strategic environment. For context, kindly note the following:
One, other ASEAN states, like Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam do hedge against the rise of China by being extra-welcoming of US port visits and some even in participating in US led exercises abroad; US forces and ships like the littoral combat ship (LCS) are already operating from Singapore - under the 2005 US-Singapore Strategic Framework Agreement (a partnership in defence and security). In Singapore, the Americans has long had a military presence, mostly to handle logistics, but that has now grown; and eventually will also include up to four LCSs.

Two, Thailand and US already co-host large annual exercises like Cobra Gold (see the Cobra Gold Execise facebook account) and so on, where Japan, South Korea and select members of ASEAN are invited.

Three, this behaviour of hedging is not new and has been in place in ASEAN and other Asian countries for years - in the triennial Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force's 2012 International Fleet Review, the Australian and Singaporean navies were invited (but the Philippines was not). The number of US Marines deployed in Darwin will rise from its current 250 troops to 1,000 in 2014. In fact, US leaders have encouraged Japan to expand its military and to strengthen the alliance by working with other US allies and partners - the May 2013 report that Japan will provide coast guard patrol ships to the Philippines, is part of the Japanese out-reach efforts.

Four, do not mistake the silence kept by other ASEAN states as ignorance of the policy failures of successive Philippine administrations. On 25 November 2005, in a press interview, the then commanding general Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes Jr. of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) admitted the country will have to make do without any air defense until 2011 when internal threats are hopefully addressed. It is now July 2013, and the PAF still has not been able to sign a contract for LIFT/SAA - making announcements of future plans of the PAF, a joke.

Five, the Philippine Government operates at such a snail like pace that it is surprise to me that that they have taken this long to come to the same conclusion as other ASEAN states. For that, we must blame the lack of strategic culture in the ruling political oligarchies of the Philippines - in a country that decided not to renew the leases to US bases at Clark and Subic in 1991 and thereafter disband the PAF's last fighter squadron without replacement by budget choice in 2005.

Six, with the notable exception of the Philippines, most ASEAN members are fluent in the management of military escalation without further provocation; but from what I have seen, Philippine leaders do not seem to understand the difference between escalation and provocation, notwithstanding the AFP's lack of relevant basic naval capabilities. Often times, Philippine politicians are too feeble and weak domestically to enter into sensible compromise - but I do admire Philippine political genius at blaming other countries in front of their electorate, instead of working to fix what is broken domestically.
This behaviour of hedging is only new to the Philippines because it has been beneath Philippine ruling class notice due to their chronic geo-strategic myopia. The issue at hand is not whether to hedge or not to hedge, rather, it is the inability for the Philippines to execute, to deliver a credible hedge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
There are some support for asking the US to reuse Subic again, but absolutely nothing about Japan. It seems that the part about Japan establishing a base in the Philippine is entirely the reporter's misinterpretation.
17. As you can see, in this case it is not; but I do think that this development with Japan and the US 'pivot' is being a little 'over-sold'. What is to stop US or Japan from pivoting away again, when it suits them? Further, Japan's defense posture takes into consideration in South Korean defense planning in a manner outside observers often greatly underestimate - Japan as a power does not only compete with China, it also competes with the Koreans.

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Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
links can not be posted due to post count. can be provided if asked
18. There is no need in this case. But first, let me thank you for your great first post - a real contribution. Your rational, fact driven approach is much appreciated by me and noted by others in the forum.
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