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US Special Forces Out? Are Relations US-Philippines Ties Unraveling?

…Another possible theory: The noise Duterte is making over US special forces may distract from the growing US military presence elsewhere. In March, Washington signed a new agreement with Manila to station American troops at five different bases in the Philippines. The move is seen as a counter to Chinese growing presences on nearby islands.

“I suspect that it will ramp up slowly,” Jan van Tol, a retired U.S. Navy captain and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington told the Military Times. “A suddenly much larger U.S. presence, even if just a rotational presence, that can be seen, certainty in Beijing, that this is a ratcheting up of a U.S.-Chinese competition in the South China Sea.”…

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