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Pentagon, Philippines Discuss Expanding Military Ties; Chuck Hagel Comments

Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says U.S. and Philippine officials are working to finalize a deal that could increase American military presence in the Southeast Asian country, Defense News reported Friday.

Hagel affirmed negotiations between the allies during his one-day visit to Manila for the final leg of a weeklong Asian tour, according to the report.

The article says the proposal would enable the U.S. to deploy more troops, aircraft and ships to the Philippines.

During a Friday news conference, Hagel assured Filipinos the White House does not intend to establish permanent military bases there.

He added officials are “using a new model of military-to-military cooperation befitting two great allies and partners.”

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the agreement might allow the U.S. military to regain access to a naval base the Pentagon used to operate.

“Subic Bay is one of the facilities that was mentioned for the U.S. forces to (have) access in,” Gazmin told Defense News.

“As soon as the framework agreement is complete, we will provide the necessary access to all these facilities,” he added, according to the report.

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