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US Plans on Building New Bases in the Philippines
(ChinaView.cn, 09 February 2004)
A senior US State Department official Monday was here to brief the Philippine authorities on US global defense posture. . . . Lincoln Bloomfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs, said he had discussed the "worldwide initiative to readjust the footprints of the US forces around the world" with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert. . . . Philippine and American officials in Manila noted that Bloomfield's one-day consultation is related to the reported US plan to return its military bases here to the host country. . . . Philippine Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Ariel Abadilla said the return of the US bases is not partof the meeting's agenda, but adding that they discussed "certain eventualities" and cooperation on fight against terrorism. . . . "This (visit) is in accordance with their mandate from Bush on the need for the re-alignment of US forces to adjust to the needs of the times. Being allies, there are certain eventualities, we discussed how we can cooperate in fields like terrorism," Abadillasaid. . . . In a statement last November, US President George W. Bush announced that the United State would intensify its discussion with Asian and European allies over the global posture of US forces.
posted by LoZo 4:20 PM
Philippines tightens borders to keep out militants
(Manny Mogato, Reuters, 03 Feb 2004)
The Philippines is tightening its porous southern maritime borders with Malaysia and Indonesia with plans for two radar systems aimed at choking a flow of Islamic militants and weapons, a military official said on Tuesday. . . . The southern Philippines, home to four homegrown rebel groups seeking a separate Islamic state, is widely suspected of being a training ground for regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah. . . . Manila's plan came as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was due to join officials from Asia-Pacific nations on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss ways of enhancing security cooperation. . . . Garcia, who chairs the military's modernisation board, said 60 million pesos ($1.1 million) had been earmarked for the radar systems that will be set up on two islands east of the Malaysian state of Sabah and north of Indonesia's Kalimantan province. . . . He said the equipment would be able to monitor small wooden boats, such as the swift outriggers used by Abu Sayyaf rebels. . . . The Philippines has also proposed an exercise among troops from the three nations deployed in the border areas, beginning with a planning meeting next month on the southern island of Mindanao. . . . The security measures, Garcia said, are part of Manila's commitment under a May 2002 counter-terrorism agreement with Malaysia and Indonesia.
posted by LoZo 10:53 AM