US reaffirms it won’t reopen military base in Phl
Jose Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2013 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – The United States is not seeking to create or to reopen any military bases in the Philippines, the State Department reiterated on Friday.

“As part of our ongoing relationship, the US and the Philippines regularly review our cooperation to ensure we are adequately addressing our common security interests,” said the department’s deputy spokesperson Marie Harf when asked if the US was considering reports the Philippines may invite the US military back to the Subic Naval Base.

“But I want to make a point very clear that the United States is not seeking to create or to reopen any military bases in the Philippines. Working with the Philippines, we will seek to promote security and stability for our nations and in the region. Obviously, as friends and allies, we talk about these issues all the time,” she said.

Asked at a press conference if there was any current plan in the Philippines to reopen Subic Bay, Harf said, “I don’t have anything specific for you on that.”

Pressed if she was concerned that move may increase the tension in the South China Sea, she stood her ground, saying “the Philippines is a close friend and ally. We engage in mutually agreed and mutually beneficial military cooperation all the time. I don’t have anything further for you than that.”

The two allies are in the closing stages of negotiations to craft a framework agreement on increased rotational presence of US forces in the Philippines.

The Aquino administration sees the presence of US forces in the Philippines as a deterrence to China’s ambitions to control the South China Sea.

AQUINO BUT I HARF MARIE HARF PHILIPPINES SOUTH CHINA SEA STATE DEPARTMENT SUBIC BAY SUBIC NAVAL BASE UNITED STATES
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