Philippines relationship dating

27— The Philippines told the United States today that it must withdraw from the Subic Bay naval base by the end of 1992, ending a vast American military presence that began with the capture of the islands from Spain in 1898.The decision, which resulted from an impasse in negotiations, follows a year of intense talks between the countries on the fate of American bases in the Philippines.Many predict that the cities will become neon ghost towns.Commitment to Asia Questioned The withdrawal may also raise questions about the Bush Administration's assertion that the United States remains fully committed to Asia, a theme the President is expected to voice throughout his trip.

The shutdown of the sprawling Subic Bay base, together with the closing of Clark Air Base after a volcanic eruption this year, amounts to the biggest reduction to date in the United States military presence in the western Pacific. to Look for New Sites Although it is theoretically possible that a new agreement could be hammered out, Administration officials in Washington said that they considered this unlikely, and that they would accelerate the pullout and the search for alternative sites in the Pacific.

The 60,000-acre Subic base is the Navy's principal supply and ship-repair installation in the region. American and Philippine officials reached tentative agreement last summer on a treaty that would have extended the lease on the naval base for at least another decade in exchange for 3 million in annual aid.

But the Philippine Senate rejected the treaty in September after an impassioned debate in which the American military presence was assailed as a vestige of colonialism and an affront to Philippine sovereignty.

By the middle of 1993, most of the American personnel and much of the movable equipment would have been moved elsewhere, at a cost of billions of dollars, and sending them back would have probably proved prohibitively expensive.

"Once it begins, it is an irreversible process," a senior American official said today.

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