Asian Arms Race: Increased U.S. military presence prompts unease in Philippines

Star Advertiser – The squad from the U.S. Army’s 196th Infantry Brigade was moving quietly through the hills of Luzon Island when the staccato bursts of machine gun fire sent them into action. About a dozen soldiers fired into the surrounding mountains, while a small contingent broke away to make a direct assault on the hidden gunmen. After a brief, intense gun battle, the squad cleared the area. The firefight was part of joint military exercises in which the message, at least in part, appeared to be clear despite proclamations to the contrary. The exercises included mock beach invasions along coastlines facing China, whose military buildup and territorial claims in the South China Sea have alarmed some of its neighbors and jumpstarted the U.S. military “pivot” to the region. That U.S. policy, which will include sending more troops and ships to the region, appears to have picked up speed in recent weeks. Read Article

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