July 16, 2013
MANILA, Philippines – Activists and experts from various countries around the world gathered in Manila today for a three-day conference to share views, analysis and campaigns on US military bases and its so-called pivot to Asia Pacific. The conference“Engaging Peace and Sovereignty, Building People’s Solidarity: An International Conference on US Strategic Pivot to Asia Pacific, US Militarism, Intervention and War”, will be held from July 16 to 18 at the Orchid Garden Suites Manila.
The gathering comes at a time when the Philippines and the US are negotiating the increased access of American forces to the country’s military facilities. Reports say that the arrangement will allow the US to position military equipment and rotate more troops in the country. Critics maintain that this will further re-establish and deepen permanent US military presence in the Philippines more than two decades after American bases were kicked out. The move is seen as part of the US pivot to Asia Pacific, with authorities using Manila’s territorial dispute with Beijing as justification.
According to its organizers, the conference aims to provide a critical analysis of the US strategy in the light of the growing struggles of peoples all over the world against imperialist globalization, all forms of foreign military presence, militarism, intervention and war. Different countries will also be sharing their experiences of struggles and resistance against US bases and troops.
Delegates and speakers from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Afghanistan and Kurdistan will participate in the conference. These countries either host US military bases or a large rotational deployment of American troops.
The Ban the Bases! Global Campaign Network, People’s Forum on Peace for Life, Asia Wide Campaign, Asia Pacific Anti-US Bases Network and the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) organized the event. The conference is expected to come up with a plan for a regional campaign against US bases and military presence in the region.