The Philippines has asked the US to provide military “assistance” in resupplying and rotating Manila’s forces in the South China Sea because they face harassment from regional power China, a military spokesman said Thursday.
The request was made the previous day by Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in a meeting with Adm. Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command, according to Colonel Restituto Padilla.
“It was a specific request on the part of the secretary of national defense to Harris to get their assistance in… resupplying and rotating troops,” Padilla told AFP.
“They just took our requests and the details still have to be discussed,” Padilla said, adding that the American officer made no commitment.
Padilla said the request pertained in particular to the “West Philippine Sea,” Manila’s term for the South China Sea.
Harris, who oversees American forces across Asia, met Wednesday with Philippine President Benigno Aquino. On Thursday, he visited the Philippine military command on the western island of Palawan, the closest landmass to the South China Sea.