September 20, 2015

"With China forcefully pressing its claim to a vast expanse of sea west of here, the Philippines is now debating whether to welcome the United States Navy back to the deepwater docks, airstrips and craggy shores of Subic Bay, which served as a haven for bruised battleships and weary soldiers during the Vietnam War."

NY Times It is also asking Washington for hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding to strengthen its own military, one of the weakest in Asia. By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ

'The change of heart is just one sign of the shifting strategic calculations in the region as President Xi Jinping of China has sought to reinforce Beijing’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea by turning reefs into islands and putting military facilities on them. Satellite photos taken last week appear to show China preparing to build a third airstrip on one of the new islands.

'United States officials have objected to the buildup in contested waters, and the dispute is expected to be high on the agenda when Mr. Xi meets President Obama in Washington on Thursday. Even as China has accelerated construction, though, the Obama administration has struggled to coordinate a response in Asia, where many leaders are not sure how hard they should push back against China, the region’s economic giant, and how much they should rely on the United States, its dominant military power.

'Several nations lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, through which pass some of the world’s busiest shipping routes and which is believed to hold significant oil and natural gas deposits. But China’s push to establish the sea as its own has hit closer to home in the Philippines than almost anywhere else.'

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