The US military might be returning to the Philippines in force, reports the Washington Post. It says the two nations are in talks to significantly beef up the American presence about 20 years after the US got evicted. The move would likely involve stationing ships in the South China Sea, joint exercises, and the deployment of troops. Why? China.
"The sudden rush by many in the Pacific region to embrace Washington is a direct reaction to China’s rise as a military power and its assertiveness in staking claims to disputed territories, such as the energy-rich South China Sea," explains the Post. The Pentagon has struck similar arrangements with Australia, Singapore, Japan, and even Vietnam of late. Talks this week with Philippines officials are supposed to lead to high-level negotiations in March.