Besides Spratly Islands dispute:

29 October 2010
ASEAN leaders dared to raise issue of unwanted US military troops, bases in ASEAN Summit "Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s call for peaceful
sharing of Spratly Islands’ resources is important, but the unwanted presence of US military troops and facilities in Asia-Pacific must also be raised by Aquino and other heads of state at the on-going ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

29 October 2010

The hundreds of US troops in the
Philippines under the unconstitutional US-RP Visiting Forces
Agreement, the US military bases and its 47,000 troops in Okinawa,
thousands of troops in Korea, and the Waihopai spybase on New Zealand
soil are equally important issues affecting territorial sovereignty,
peace and security in the region that must be challenged. The rape and
prostitution of women, death of civilians and destruction of
environment where US war games and exercises are being held must be

This was the challenge issued by peace advocates and anti-bases
activist groups in New Zealand as they host Luis Jalandoni and Coni
Ledesma of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
Peace Negotiating Panel in a series of public meetings around NZ to
promote support for peace process the Philippines.

At the meetings in Christchurch, Blenheim and Wellington, Jalandoni
and Ledesma talked about continuing US economic domination and
military intervention in the Philippines as major obstacles to peace
in the Philippines. "The Waihopai spybase in New Zealand is used by
the US to spy on countries like the Philippines. We support the
struggle to have this closed down. National sovereignty must be upheld
to achieve lasting peace in the Philippines. Foreign troops and bases
must not be allowed on Philippine soil just as the Waihopai spybase in
NZ and US bases in Okinawa must be closed down," Jalandoni stated.

According to Murray Horton, main host of the peace tour and Secretary
of Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA), "Waihopai does
not operate in the interests of New Zealanders or our neighbours.
Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us
in US wars. Although officially a ‘New Zealand’ facility, Waihopai is
an American spybase in everything but name."

The Waihopai spybase was subjected to unprecedented
public attention by the March 2010 trial and acquittal of the three
Ploughshares peace activists who penetrated its high security in 2008
and deflated one of the two domes concealing its satellite dishes from
the NZ public.

At the US-ASEAN leaders meeting last September 24, US Pres. Barack
Obama stated: "Through the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Forum (APEC) forum and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we’re
pursuing trade relationships that benefit all our countries.The United
States also wants to focus on deepening its political and security
cooperation with the region."

"By all indications, the US is poised to strengthen military presence
in Asia-Pacific to protect its economic interests in the name of ‘free
trade’ that ensures massive profits for giant US corporations and
local elite. The US, which benefits from unrestricted trade in labour
and capital investment in Asia-Pacific, is actually
causing massive social inequities which are root causes of armed
conflict in the Philippines. ”Free trade’ fuels war," Rod Prosser,
convenor of Wellington Kiwi Pinoy, another group hosting the NDFP
peace tour, added.

"We are aware that Mr. Aquino courted US support for Philippines’ bid
to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership during his meeting
with Obama. Just like APEC, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade –
World Trade Organisation (GATT-WTO) and other US-designed trade deals,
TPP spells more profits for big business and nothing but losses for
ordinary people in the Philippines, New Zealand and other countries,"
Horton noted.

Horton, who is also the Spokesperson of ‘New Zealand Not for Sale’
campaign, concluded, "Filipinos and New Zealanders have had enough of
unrestrained trade liberalisation that destroyed local agriculture and
industries. Thus the TPP issue is a common ground for us to oppose
what is essentially a back door way of achieving another free trade
agreement that will mainly benefit the US. #

Murray Horton
Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA)