The US military said on Tuesday it planned to help the Philippines monitor its coastal waters as Manila faces an escalating dispute with China over territorial claims.
The Pentagon revised earlier comments and said there was no firm plan to deliver a land-based radar to the Philippines, but that a radar could be part of future assistance.
The cost and the time line for the project were still being worked out, she said.
The Philippines has requested radar, patrol aircraft and naval vessels as it seeks to bolster its position in a row with China over the Scarborough Shoal, which lies near the main Philippine island of Luzon.
China claims the area along with virtually all of the South China Sea up to the shores of other Southeast Asian nations, including Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The Pentagon’s comments came after President Benigno Aquino paid a visit last week to the White House, where he was offered a robust show of support.
Plans to help Manila reflect Washington’s strategic shift towards Asia amid a growing rivalry with Beijing, with the South China Sea at the centre of the contest, analysts said.
Tensions between Beijing and Manila escalated in April when Chinese and Philippine vessels approached the Scarborough Shoal, which lies near the main Philippine island of Luzon. Manila says the rock formation falls within its exclusive economic zone.
Uh oh! it’s getting close to Dec 2012!