Stars and Stripes: Philippines inks $940 million deal with China to link Subic Bay and Clark Air Base by rail
Mon January, 2021, Age: 2 years
The Philippines has signed a deal with China to construct a 44 mile long railway linking two former U.S. military bases on the island of Luzon. The two countries will soon begin deliberations on the financing of the $940 million infrastructure project. The railway will connect Subic Bay and Clark Air Base, the latter of which is still used occasionally by U.S. military forces in country to help combat Islamic extremist groups in the region. As news broke of the proposed railway construction, China’s embassy in the Philippines touted, “once completed, the railway will build a resilient linkage between ports, railways, and airports along the Subic-Clark corridor, which will improve the logistic efficiency, trim the transportation cost and support the potential demand for freight services and economic activities in the region.” While the project is not expected to effect the ability of the U.S. military to use Clark Air Base, some experts warn that it may impact the US-Philippines mutual defense treaty and visiting forces agreement. The project, which is projected to take up to 42 months to complete, is somewhat of a surprise as the Philippines and China have been locked in a territorial dispute over stretches of the South China Sea. However, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has long sought initiatives to improve the country’s ageing infrastructure.