The swift US humanitarian response to the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiyan highlights the need to expand America’s military presence in the Philippines, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Monday.
He said a proposed agreement to strengthen the US military presence, which was being negotiated as the storm struck on Nov. 8, would allow for the easier delivery of relief aid by US forces in the future.
[...] The proposed deal would allow more US troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the Philippines at a time when Washington is refocusing its attention on Asia.
It had also been seen as a counterweight to Chinese moves in the South China Sea, where Beijing has territorial disputes with US ally Manila.
Despite months of talks, the Philippine and US governments have failed to sign the agreement due to some differences in their respective positions.
However the United States, particularly its military, has burnished its image in the former US colony through its extensive relief work after the typhoon ravaged the central Philippine islands, leaving almost 7,000 dead or missing.