US may establish military bases in Philippines, eyeing China
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is anticipated to visit the Philippines as part of his tour in Asia, which launched on Sunday starting in South Korea.
Following the scare by a senior Air Force general claiming that a war with China is inevitable by 2025, reports state that the US is potentially establishing up to four military bases in the Philippines in just the next few days.
The Washington Post announced on Monday that the potential expansion “involves access to Philippine military bases, likely including two on the northern island of Luzon,” which “could give US forces a strategic position from which to mount operations in the event of a conflict in Taiwan or the South China Sea.”
Read next: Biden's 'protect, promote' agendas set US-China ties in reverse mode
China was illustrated by the Pentagon last week as the “pacing challenge of the Department of Defense,” and top Air Force General Michael Minihan wrote in a memo to airmen, “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” as he called to “aim for the head” when attacking the Chinese forces because “unrepentant lethality matters most.”
However, a study published on January 23 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) indicated that Washington's self-imposed burden of supplying Kiev with weapons endangers the US in its capacity to ready itself in the event of a possible armed conflict with China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is anticipated to visit the Philippines as part of his tour in Asia, which launched on Sunday starting in South Korea, and which Chinese news outlet Global Times described as “Washington's latest effort to beef up military integration that targets China in the western Pacific, especially in a cost-effective way of using "allies" as its disposable pawns.”
A Philippine military official is reported by The Washington Post to have said that deploying US troops in the Pacific bases is a deal that has “more or less” been made but won’t be “formalized” until Austin meets with his Philippine counterpart.
Anti-Chinese rhetoric amps up
Amid rising tensions with China since July, the US has been attempting to amplify its presence in Asia.
In recent months, US-China relations were strained due to provocative visits by US lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan despite objections from Beijing. The disagreement resulted in increased Chinese military activity around the island.
It is noteworthy that on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia in mid-November, Biden and Xi engaged in blunt talks about Taiwan and DPRK, with the goal of preventing strained US-China relations from devolving into a new Cold War.
Back in December, a US warship was warned to retreat by Chinese forces after “illegally” patrolling near the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Read more: US General shocks Washington by preparing troops to fight China: WSJ
It was also reported back in April that China was stepping up security cooperation with the Solomon Islands which led to threats by the US to invade the latter if its government permitted China to establish a military base there.
The accumulation of these events has led peace activists to warn that there may be a new Cold War against China, especially with the rhetoric in American media and the military aimed at Chinese discrimination and hatred.