Negotiations are in progress between the United States and the Philippines regarding the continuation of American bases in the South China Sea.
Negotiations are in progress between the United States and the Philippines regarding the continuation of American bases in the South China Sea. President Carter's administration has had doubts whether the bases of Clark Airfield and Subic Bay are necessary, especially as President Marcos has declined and offer of one billion American dollars for five years' rent. But observers believe there will be compromise in view of the bases' strategic value to the Americans, and the importance of the United States in the Philippines' foreign policy.
SYNOPSIS: In the middle of the current negotiations, some 5,000 U.S. Marines took part in manoeuvres off the coast of Mindoro Island in central Philippines. Code-named MAFLEX, standing for Marine Amphibious Forces Landing Exercise, the manoeuvres were held last Sunday (16 October).
One loss resulting from the exercise was a U.S. Navy A-4 fighter bomber which crashed into the sea while coming into land at Subic Bay. The pilot ejected but was not found immediately by rescue teams. Thirty-one ships of the US 7th Fleet took part in the exercise which was designed to train marines in amphibious landing techniques and operations ashore.
Commanding the landing exercise was Major General Adolph G. Schwenj, with Vice Admiral Robert B. Baldwin in charge of the Seventh Fleet. A similar exercise had been conducted off Okinawa, Japan, the previous weekend.