US abruptly withdraws medium-range missiles from Philippines

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According to several Asian media outlets, including Chinese sources, the US military’s Typhon medium-range missiles, currently deployed in the Philippines, might not remain there for long. Some reports suggest they will stay until September, with others predicting a slightly longer period. However, it seems the US does not plan for a permanent deployment of the Typhon in the Philippines. This information comes from Chinese publications like Sohu as well as the South China Morning Post. 

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Initially, the Philippine military had sorrowfully announced that the US Typhon medium-range missiles stationed in the Philippines would be withdrawn by September or earlier. At that time, many viewed this as a sign of the Philippines’ softer diplomatic stance. 

Surprisingly, just a few days later, the Philippine military received new assurances and suddenly changed its position. It was then stated that the US military would likely extend the deployment of the Typhoon. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

As for the duration of this extension, the Philippine military only gave a vague response, saying it would depend on the evaluation of the US-Philippines joint military exercise “Side by Side.” Given the usual cooperative nature of both countries, some believe this extension could become permanent.

The deployment of intermediate-range missiles by the U.S. military in the Philippines is a major geopolitical move that warrants our close attention. This is significant as it’s the first such deployment in Asia since the U.S. exited the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and it clearly aims to counter China. 

China’s reaction has been notably strong. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning stated that this U.S. deployment in the Philippines poses a serious threat to regional security, disrupts peace and stability, and contradicts the aspirations of local populations for peace and development. Beijing has urged the concerned countries to rectify this situation promptly. 

Photo credit: Twitter

Despite China’s clear stance, the U.S. and the Philippines appear steadfast in maintaining this system, likely due to their confidence in its capabilities. 

The Typhon system is particularly advanced, capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles and Standard-6 missiles. It boasts state-of-the-art missile launch control and command features, allowing it to receive real-time battlefield information and adapt missile flight paths to suit different operational environments.

According to disclosures from the US military, an array of intermediate-range missiles might be stationed at Laoag International Airport on the northwestern island of Luzon, Philippines. This strategic placement is noteworthy. 

Photo credit: Sputnik News

With a range of up to 1,600 kilometers, these missiles possess the capability to target some provinces in southwestern and southeastern China. This sends a potent message, potentially pressuring China to reconsider its stance on the South China Sea issue. 

The US’s shift in strategy might be tied to a recent CCTV Military report, which detailed a confrontation between Chinese and American aircraft carrier fleets. This encounter showcased how Chinese warships effectively countered foreign provocations, from the Chinese perspective. 

China’s narrative highlights the actions of the Type 055 Yan’an guided missile vessel, which detected and approached a Western vessel nearing the Shandong carrier. Such moves could stem from reconnaissance efforts or purely as provocations. 

Photo credit: Flickr

The Yan’an ship swiftly closed in on the foreign vessel, securing a tactical advantage and seemingly unsettling the “opponent” enough to halt their advance. In this sudden “encounter”, China’s robust multi-layered defense system proved its worth. 

In actual combat scenarios, enemy vessels might launch surprise attacks on the carrier group to jeopardize its safety or disrupt its formation. However, reports suggest that the recent incident involved the US Roosevelt aircraft carrier fleet and the Yan’an ship compelling a US Arleigh Burke-class Aegis ship to retreat. 

This direct face-off with the People’s Liberation Army likely signaled to the US that China’s maritime capabilities have significantly improved. Consequently, the US appears determined to maintain missile deployments in the Philippines, perhaps to counteract China’s growing influence.


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