10 February 2012

Another Coast Guard Cutter Being Handed Over to the Philippines

The US has approved the transfer of another Coast Guard ship to the Philippines to help strengthen their navy.

The U.S. Congress has approved the transfer of a second Coast Guard ship to the Philippines, an official said Friday as Washington shifts its military ties with the Southeast Asian nation that has been engaged in a territorial spat with China.
In the past, U.S. cooperation with the Philippines has focused mostly on counterterrorism, but it has recently expanded to building up the country's moribund navy.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro told reporters Friday that he will consider a Philippine request to have the warship turned over with as much military equipment as possible.
"I'm pleased that the congressional notification period for a second Coast Guard cutter expired this week, so that means Congress has now approved the transfer ... to the Philippines, which will further help Philippine security needs," he said after talks with Filipino defense officials in Manila.
The ship — the second such delivery since last May under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty — is just one of many defense projects that the U.S. is discussing with the Philippines. That comes in addition to having American ships regularly visit and refuel in Philippine ports, rotating U.S. troops in the southern Philippines where al-Qaida-linked Muslim militants are active and holding large-scale joint military exercises.
China has said that it views with concern the increased U.S. military engagement with the Philippines and balked at what it sees as Washington's interference in the South China Sea dispute. The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan all have conflicting territorial claims over potentially gas and oil rich islands with the Asian superpower.

What's funny about China's statement of "increased U.S. military engagement with the Philippines" is how it demonstrates a total lack of knowledge of the area beyond the past 15 years. For a country that supposedly takes a long view of things, they sure have a short-term memory on relations between the US and the Philippines.
I mean, Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base were freakin' enormous back in the day. And the only reason the Philippines weren't still part of Spain was because we kicked their ass and took them away. Even if you tripled US engagement in the Philippines, it would still pale in comparison to our involvement from 1901-1986.

By: Brant

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