US

US to keep 300 troops in Philippines through end of month

  • U.S. military armored personnel carriers take their positions during the 11-day joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 2016" (Shoulder-To-Shoulder 2016) Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Crow Valley, Tarlac province north of Manila, Philippines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country Wednesday for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top defense and military officials and to visit two military camps which are being utilized for the exercise.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    U.S. military armored personnel carriers take their positions during the 11-day joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 2016" (Shoulder-To-Shoulder 2016) Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Crow Valley, Tarlac province north of Manila, Philippines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country Wednesday for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top defense and military officials and to visit two military camps which are being utilized for the exercise.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lt. Gen. John Toolan, center, Commander of US Marine Corps in the Pacific, gestures while answering questions following the 11-day joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 2016" (Shoulder-To-Shoulder 2016) Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Crow Valley, Tarlac province north of Manila, Philippines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country Wednesday for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top defense and military officials and to visit two military camps being utilized for the exercise. Looking at right is Philippine Vice-Admiral Alexander Lopez.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Lt. Gen. John Toolan, center, Commander of US Marine Corps in the Pacific, gestures while answering questions following the 11-day joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 2016" (Shoulder-To-Shoulder 2016) Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Crow Valley, Tarlac province north of Manila, Philippines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country Wednesday for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top defense and military officials and to visit two military camps being utilized for the exercise. Looking at right is Philippine Vice-Admiral Alexander Lopez.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • A US military V22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft prepares to land the 11-day joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 2016" (Shoulder-To-Shoulder 2016) Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Crow Valley, Tarlac province north of Manila, Philippines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country Wednesday for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top defense and military officials and to visit two military camps which are being utilized for the exercise.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    A US military V22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft prepares to land the 11-day joint US-Philippines military exercise dubbed "Balikatan 2016" (Shoulder-To-Shoulder 2016) Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Crow Valley, Tarlac province north of Manila, Philippines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country Wednesday for talks with President Benigno Aquino III and other top defense and military officials and to visit two military camps which are being utilized for the exercise.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

The U.S. says it will be keeping nearly 300 troops, including Air Force commandos armed with combat aircraft and helicopters, in the Philippines through the end of the month. It's part of a military build-up sure to inflame tensions with China in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon says the U.S. will also begin sending forces on increased rotations into the Philippines to beef up training and to support increased military operations in the region. And for the first time the U.S. revealed that American ships have started conducting joint patrols in the South China Sea with the Philippines, a somewhat rare move not done with many other partners in the region.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the plans during a news conference Thursday with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmi.