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Philippines considers allowing U.S. forces back to Subic


18:33, June 27, 2013

MANILA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government considers allowing U.S. forces to regain access to their former Naval base in Subic, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Thursday.

In an ambush interview at Camp Aguinaldo in Metro Manila, Gazmin said"We will be accepting access. Right now, the agreement has not been firmed up. We are in the process of crafting the agreement relative to our Constitution and the Visiting Forces Agreement."

"After that is done (access agreement), then we will be allowing -- if and when there is agreement on the access -- then there will be equipment coming in from the United States,"he said after meeting with visiting Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who arrived in Manila Thursday for a two-day visit to the Philippines.

But Gamin made it clear that the Americans will not be putting up military bases in the country.

On whether other countries like Japan would also be allowed access, Gazmin said"We do welcome other countries, particularly Japan since Japan is a strategic partner, in accordance with our existing protocols."

Subic, located in Zambales province in northern Philippines, used to be U.S.' largest overseas Naval base. After it was closed in 1991, Subic has been transformed into a freeport zone.

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