The US troops and military equipment will be sent on regular rotations in the Philippines and the two nations had started joint patrols in South China Sea, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Thursday.
There will be a regular, periodic presence here of American forces," Carter was quoted as saying by thanhniennews at a news briefing in Manila with Philippine Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin. "The things that we're doing here are part of a pattern that goes back decades. They're by the invitation of an alliance partner.”
The first US-Philippines joint patrol in the South China Sea occurred in March and a second one happened early this month and would occur "regularly" in the future, the Pentagon said.
The aircraft in the initial contingent include five A-10C Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft, three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, and a MC-130H special operations aircraft.
In addition, up to 75 US troops, mostly Marines, would remain in the Philippines "on a rotational basis" after the conclusion of joint "Balikatan" US-Philippines military exercises this week. The troops would support "increased operations in the region", the Pentagon said.