U.S. has no plan to reopen military base in Philippines: official

The United States has no plan to reopen military bases in the Philippines in connection with ongoing work to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, the State Department said Friday.

Both countries regularly review security cooperation to address their common security interests but "the United States is not seeking to create or to reopen any military bases in the Philippines," department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

The United States finished withdrawing its military from the Philippines in 1992.

But both countries began work in August to map out a new bilateral pact which will enable the U.S. military to deploy its units more frequently to the Philippines in reaction to an increase in the Chinese military's activities in the Pacific.

Tension has built up between the Philippines and China over sovereignty of maritime areas including the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.