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'Endangering regional peace': China voices concerns over Philippine-US base deal

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III walks past military guards during arrival honors at the Department of National Defense in Camp Aguinaldo military camp in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, February 2, 2023. (File photo by Rolex dela Pena via Reuters)

China has warned that Washington is "endangering regional peace and stability" with its deal with the Philippines allowing US troops to use several military bases in the Southeast Asia country. 

In February this year, the former US colony signed a deal to allow American troops greater access to its military bases, mounting pressure on China with the United States securing more bases for its forces around the South China Sea and in disputed territories.

With the new deal, Washington has surrounded China with its allies including South Korea and Japan in the north and Australia in the south.

"Out of self-interest, the US maintains a zero-sum mentality and continues to strengthen its military deployment in the region," foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Tuesday.

"The result will inevitably be increased military tension and endangering regional peace and stability," she said, adding, "Countries in the region should think deeply about what is appropriate and what is mutually beneficial, so as to make choices that are truly beneficial to their own interests and to regional peace and stability."

On Monday, the Philippines announced the locations of the four military bases to be used by US troops, describing the base deal as "suitable and mutually beneficial."

One of the military bases American troops are going to be present in is near the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Manila and Beijing are in dispute over parts of the South China Sea as China claims sovereignty over most all of the body of water which is believed to sit atop rich oil and gas reserves.

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