Two sides of the same coin: The “encirclement” of China by American military bases is the “shielding” of the Indo-Pacific region from China’s aggression


No nation alone can stand up to China. Only the US has the power to stop China.


As US military ‘encircles’ China, does Asean ‘quietly welcome’ it?

From the Philippines to Australia to Japan – and a new US Marines base in Guam – more American troops and military assets are headed for Asia

China is likely to interpret it as ‘encirclement’, analysts say – but for some in Southeast Asia an increased US military presence is a ‘public good’

Dewey Sim in Singapore

+ myNEWS

Published: 8:30am, 11 Feb, 2023


The Chinese have militarised their new South China Sea bases and that puts more of The Philippines’ territory under threat. Only the US has the power to stop them. The Philippines cannot do it alone.

US secures deal on Philippines bases to complete arc around China

  • Published

2 February

By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

BBC News, Manila

The US has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With the deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints – Taiwan and the South China Sea.

The deal, which in part reverses the US’ departure from their former colony more than 30 years ago, is no small matter.

“There is no contingency in the South China Sea that does not require access to the Philippines,” says Gregory B Poling, director of the Southeast Asia programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“The US is not looking for permanent bases. It’s about places, not bases.”

These days the US is seeking access to places where “light and flexible” operations involving supplies and surveillance can be run as and when needed, rather than bases where large numbers of troops will be stationed.

In other words, this is not a return to the 1980s, when the Philippines was home to 15,000 US troops and two of the largest American military bases in Asia, at Clark Field and nearby Subic Bay.

More important, China is no longer a military weakling, and it’s knocking on the Philippines’ front door. Manila has watched – horrified but powerless to intervene – as Beijing has set about redrawing the map of the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it. Since 2014 China has built 10 artificial island bases, including one at Mischief Reef, deep inside the Philippines’ own exclusive economic zone or EEZ.

“We have very limited capability against the threat from China,” says former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr.

He says the Chinese have repeatedly broken promises not to militarise their new South China Sea bases.

“The Chinese have militarised those features and that puts more of our territory under threat. Only the US has the power to stop them. The Philippines cannot do it alone.”

But Manila is not about to become a full-blown member of an American alliance to challenge or resist China’s rise, Professor Kraft cautions.

“The Philippines is not doing those things like Australia and Japan, directly challenging Chinese interests in the South China Sea or East China Sea. President Marcos wants good relations with the US. But he also wants good relations with China for economic advantage.”

Beijing too has indicated that it does not intend to allow a new base agreement between Manila and Washington to disrupt its relations with its neighbour.


The source of this map is David Vince, Base Nation.

David Vine, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015)

David Vine is professor of anthropology at the Graduate School of New York University. He is also a regular contributor to Tomdispatch. Vine’s book, Base Nation, is published a decade after Chalmers Johnson’s (1931-2010) trilogy: Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of American Empire (2000); The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2004); Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006)–ll published by New York: Metropolitan Books.…


This video by Australian John Pilger, pro China and anti USA in stance, is produced by RT, Russia Today, Russia state affiliated media.


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