High-level visits here by American officials have raised the prospect of a return of the United States’ military presence in this former naval base in the wake of disasters that hit Japan, which have delayed the planned US military build-up in Guam.
US Senators Daniel Inouye and Thad Cochran visited this free port on Tuesday and met with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Olongapo City officials.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer learned of the visit but was told that it was “not open to press coverage.”
In March, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. also met with local officials and briefed them about the impact of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on the transfer of US military bases in Okinawa to Guam. The visit was not announced to reporters here.
Inouye and Cochran, chair and ranking member, respectively, of the US Senate committee on appropriations, appeared to be interested in the possibility of an increased presence of the US military in the country, a source present at the luncheon meeting for the visiting senators hosted by Subic and local officials told the Inquirer.
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