It’s day three of a six-day joint military exercise between the US and the Philippines. The news that the Philippines plans to build new military bases at Subic Bay, and to reopen the base to the United States, has been under discussion.
Some Philippine military officials have indicated the air and naval bases will cost 230 million US dollars and cover an area of about 30 hectares. Subic Bay is located around 80 kilometers north of the country’s capital Manila, and some 230 km away from China’s Huangyan Island.
It’s a former American naval facility and has been used as an economic development zone and freeport since 1992, after US military forces withdrew. The reestablishment of bases at Subic Bay coincides with the US’ rebalancing towards Asia. Though the plan has not yet been approved by President Aquino, senior officials are reported to believe the President will have no objections to the plan.
"The establishment of military bases at Subic Bay will face many obstacles. The first is domestic law. According to Philippine law, the Bay can only be used as a foreign base when the Philippines rents it to US military forces, and foreign military stations are not allowed. Secondly, the former American naval facility has been abandoned for more than ten years. It will cost nearly million of US dollars to rebuild it,” said rear admiral Yin Zhuo from Chinese PLA Navy.