Philippines is holding talks with US about the possibility of its Navy ships operating out of Philippines in the future. Reportedly, China’s increasingly aggressive posturing over territorial disputes and energy rights in the South China Sea triggered the move.
China is asserting presence in the South China Sea, claiming its sovereignty over the disputed islands of Spratly and Paracel, both believed to be rich in natural gas and oil reserves. Tensions have led to skirmishes between Chinese patrol boats and vessels from the Philippines and Vietnam. China is also preparing to deploy its aircraft carrier and the move has alarmed Philippines.
The final decision on US deployment in Philippines will be taken in March and will be the first concrete indication of future strategic interests of US in the Pacific since Obama announced revised defense strategy. Though, China has not shown any immediate reaction to the return of US Navy in Philippines, a backlash is expected. China feels these designs are to encircle it and counter its influence in the region.