Manila says it will not help U.S. on patrols in South China Sea
MANILA | The Philippines defense secretary said Thursday it is highly unlikely his country will allow the U.S. military to use it as a springboard for freedom-of-navigation patrols in the disputed South China Sea to avoid antagonizing China.
Delfin Lorenzana said U.S. ships and aircraft could use bases in Guam, Okinawa or fly from aircraft carriers to patrol the disputed waters.
Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, some U.S. aircraft and ships stopped in the Philippines on the way to patrolling the disputed waters to challenge China’s territorial claims. Mr. Duterte, who took office in June, has taken steps to mend ties with China and became hostile toward the Obama administration after it raised concerns over Mr. Duterte’s deadly crackdown on illegal drugs.