Pentagon announces ramped-up military presence in Philippines

MANILA: The United States will send troops and military equipment on routine rotations in the Philippines, and the two countries have started joint patrols in the South China Sea as China increasingly asserts territorial claims there, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The first U.S.-Philippines joint patrol in the South China Sea occurred in March and a second one occurred early this month and would occur "regularly" in the future, the Pentagon said.

A contingent of U.S. military aircraft and 200 U.S. airmen would remain at Clark Air Base, a former U.S. Air Force base, through the end of the month, the Pentagon said. In addition, up to 75 U.S. troops would remain in the Philippines "on a rotational basis" after the conclusion of joint U.S.-Philippines military exercises this week.

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