Tag Archives: United States Armed Forces

US denies 10yr Philippines security pact aimed against China

Protest rally against the up-coming visit of President Barrack Obama.

A new security treaty between the US and the Philippines to be signed Monday isn’t aimed at containing China’s military might, but is rather ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region, American officials said.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement would permit the enhanced “rotational presence” of US forces in the Philippines.

The American military will also be able to train and conduct exercises with their Philippine counterparts for maritime security, disaster assistance and humanitarian aid.

It would also allow US troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the Philippines and see the creation of storages facilities for American equipment.

“We are not doing this because of China. We are doing this because we have a longstanding alliance partner [the Philippines]. They are interested in stepping up our military-to-military,” Evan Medeiros, Obama’s top advisor on Asia, was cited as saying by AFP.

Filipino negotiators previously said that the deal wouldn’t allow the US to establish military bases in the country, or position nuclear weapons there.

But Medeiros still called the document “the most significant agreement that we [the US] have concluded with the Philippines in decades.”

The treaty runs for 10 years, which is shorter than Washington was originally asking for, but it can be prolonged if both sides see it necessary, two senior US officials told Reuters.

An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila on March 18, 2014, for a port visit.

An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila on March 18, 2014, for a port visit.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US ambassador Philip Goldberg will put their signatures under the deal on April 28, just a few hours before President Barack Obama arrives to the Philippine capital, Manila, as part of his week-long Asian tour.

The United States is expected to gradually deploy combat ships, a squadron of F18s or F16s and maritime surveillance aircraft to the Philippines under the deal, a military source told Reuters.

“We are considering bases in Northern Luzon like Clark and Subic, and Fort Magsaysay, to accommodate the US forces. We will set aside space in those bases for their troops,” the source said.

Clark and Subic were the two military bases maintained by the US military northwest of Manila until 1992, when the Philippines Senate voted to evict American troops from the country.

However, eight years later, the Senate approved an agreement allowing for temporary visits by US forces and joint military drills between the armies of the two states.

A total of 149 US Navy vessels visited the Philippines last year – almost a two-fold increase in comparison with 68 ships in 2012.

Manila has been seeking greater military and diplomatic support from the US in recent years, due to a territorial dispute with China.

Beijing, which claims most of the resources-rich South China Sea, has seized control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 despite the island being situated far closer to the Filipino landmass than the Chinese.

The Chinese refused to participate in the UN tribunal on the validity of its territorial claims, which the Philippines imitated, saying that the move “seriously damaged” bilateral relations.

In March, Chinese vessels tried to block ships, which were bringing supplies to a Philippine military outpost on a tiny reef also claimed by Beijing.

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US maintaining Pacific fleet to ‘deter North Korean provocations’ – report

North Korea’s determination to acquire long-range missiles and nuclear weapons has rendered the Pacific country an increasing threat to the United States, according to a Pentagon report that describes the small nation as “closed and authoritarian.”

The Pentagon released its Quadrennial Defense Review this week, an update to the Defense Department’s international outlook in which it warned that North Korea constitutes “a significant threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and is a growing, direct threat to the United States.”

The report came mere days after South Korean officials said the North fired short-range missiles into the sea on at least two occasions in what observers maintain is a method of protesting the US and South Korean military drills.

“We believe this is an intentional provocation to raise tensions,” the South Korean ministry spokesman said this week of the tests.

Military officials maintained in the Defense Review that the two nations would continue to work together “to deter and defend against North Korean provocations,” as quoted by AFP.

The Defense Department strategy guide included a stipulation that the American military would maintain a sizable presence in the Asian Pacific region in an attempt to promote “stability” in the region.

Some have criticized the US strategy for being high on bravado and low on substance. However, this new report includes mention of plans to enhance the Naval fleet and send Marines to Australia, as well as intentions to continue military drills despite objections from Pyongyang.

“We will continue our contributions to the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to preserve peace and stability in a region that is increasingly central to US political, economic, and security interests,” it said.

North and South Korea have been bitterly divided since the Korean War ended in 1953. Nearly 30,000 American troops are on standby in South Korea in an attempt to discourage any aggression from the North. The US and South Korea, two close allies, have consistently maintained that they do not plan to launch any military action into the North and that their annual military tests are only conducted to prepare for an emergency.

Before launching the SCUD missiles into the ocean, the North pledged “to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity” if the South canceled the planned military drills with the US.

via US maintaining Pacific fleet to ‘deter North Korean provocations’ – report — RT News.

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Libya releases 4 U.S. military personnel; Obama updated in Hawaii – Washington Times

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WASHINGTON — Four U.S. military personnel investigating potential evacuation routes in Libya were taken into custody at a checkpoint and then detained briefly by the Libyan government before being released, U.S. officials said Friday night.

These four military personnel were operating in an area near the coastal city of Sabratha in northwestern Libya as part of security preparedness efforts when they were taken into custody, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. Sabathra, about 40 miles west of Tripoli, is a popular tourist area with its ancient Roman ruins.

No one was injured. The military personnel were taken to the U.S. Embassy after their release, a Defense Department official said. The official was not authorized to discuss the incident by name and requested anonymity.

The four were supporting U.S. Marine security forces protecting the American Embassy, the official said. They were likely U.S. special operations forces, which have been deployed to Libya.

An altercation apparently took place at the checkpoint, the Defense Department official said. Reports of gunfire could not be confirmed.

After they were detained at the checkpoint, the Americans were transferred to the Ministry of the Interior and held for a few hours, the official said. Psaki said U.S. officials were still trying to confirm details of the incident.

“We value our relationship with the new Libya,” Psaki said. “We have a strategic partnership based on shared interests and our strong support for Libya’s historic democratic transition.”

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli includes a security detail. The embassy’s personnel are restricted in their movements in Libya.

Libya has been marked by unrest since the ouster in 2011 of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Armed groups that fought Gadhafi’s army turned themselves into militias that exploited the weakness of the weak central government in Tripoli and operate independently of the police and the military.

In September 2012, terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

President Obama, who was vacationing in Hawaii, was updated about the incident by staff from the White House’s National Security Council, officials said.

Libya releases 4 U.S. military personnel; Obama updated in Hawaii – Washington Times.

With U.S. security ties suspended, Cairo opens dialogue with Moscow | World Tribune

5778899CAIRO — Egypt, in wake of a suspension of U.S. military aid, has turned to Russia for enhanced defense and intelligence cooperation.

Officials said Egypt and Russia have been conducting a high-level military dialogue amid the crisis with the United States.

The officials said Egyptian Defense Minister Abdul Fatah Sisi was mulling Russian offers of defense and military cooperation.

“Russia has always tried to sell Egypt advanced systems, but this might be more realistic given current circumstances,” an official said.

On Oct. 28, Russian military intelligence chief Gen. Vacheslav Kondrasco arrived in Cairo for what officials said marked an effort to renew a strategic dialogue between the Kremlin and Egypt.

Officials said Kondrasco was discussing Egypt’s military requirements and the prospect of Russian arms sales. Russia was the leading military supplier to Egypt in the 1960s and 1970s.

The visit by Kondrasco came in wake of the U.S. suspension of major arms
sales to Egypt. Under the suspension, Egypt saw a halt to the U.S. delivery
of F-16 multi-role fighters, AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters and
M1A1 main battle tanks.

“The visit does not mean that Egypt no longer wants U.S. or Western
cooperation,” the official said.

Officials said Egypt, which received $1.3 billion in annual U.S.
military aid, has expressed interest in cooperation with Moscow. They cited
joint defense production, military exercises and intelligence exchange.

Kondrasco was said to have met Sisi as well as Chief of Staff Gen. Sidqi
Sobhi. Officials said both countries regarded the visit as having strategic
implications for Egypt.

With U.S. security ties suspended, Cairo opens dialogue with Moscow | World Tribune.