With the disputes over the unpopulated Spratly Islands continuing to grow, the Obama Administration has announced that it is preparing a major increase in arms shipments to the Philippines to prepare the nation to fight a war with China.
The announcement came at a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Philippines Foreign Secsretary Albert del Rosario, who is pressing for the US to lease equipment to allow them to modernize their navy.
The islands have historically been irrelevant, but are believed to contain large amounts of oil and natural gas. They also are viewed as strategically valuable for both China and the US, as the South China Seas are heavily trafficked.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged “restraint” on all sides over the region, but the promise of more equipment and “defensive” help for Philippines troops to back up claims in the region are likely going to convince all sides that the issue is getting more serious.
by Jason Ditz, June 24, 2011