Americans will have access to four additional military bases in the Philippines
US troops gain access to four other military bases in the Philippines, reports the US Department of Defense.
This extends the EDCA defense pact (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) between the two countries. The expansion was announced during a visit to Manila by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
This strengthens the ties between the two countries. The group has deteriorated considerable under the previous Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, who focused more on China. The new president, Ferdinand Marcos, who became last year installedit’s reversed now.
The expansion of the pact gives the United States access to nine military bases. The United States is investing over $82 million in the five existing locations. These are expected to support the economic growth of local Filipino communities, according to a statement.
The location of the new locations was not disclosed. The United States has reportedly requested access to Luzon, the island closest to Taiwan, and the island of Palawan, across from the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
The United States and China are engaged in a geopolitical battle over the South China Sea. Beijing believes almost all of the sea should be under direct Chinese influence, while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of it.
In the region, there are especially great tensions between China and Taiwan. The Chinese military regularly holds drills near the island state. The Chinese government regards Taiwan as a renegade province. The Taiwanese have a strong ally in the United States.
Last year, top US politician Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which was seen as a provocation by China. In Beijing’s eyes, any visit to Taiwan by a foreign administrator or politician is a provocation.
In a possible conflict with China, close cooperation with the Philippines may be of strategic importance due to the archipelago’s proximity to Taiwan. This is the second time in a short time that the United States has strengthened its military ties in Asia.
It happened in Japan last month. Among other things, there will be new naval unit on the Japanese island of Okinawa, also not far from Taiwan. The Americans already have a large base there and will expand the existing army.
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