US troops will have access to four additional military bases in the Philippines, reports the US Department of Defense. The additional access comes under a 2014 pact known as EDCA that allows US troops to rotate into Philippine bases. It also allows the US military to store defense equipment and supplies at these bases.
Observers say China’s growing assertiveness towards Taiwan and the building of Chinese bases in the South China Sea have given Washington and Manila momentum to strengthen their partnership. In doing so, the two countries are restoring ties that had been severed in recent years: former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte preferred China to his country’s former colonial master. The new government of Ferdinand Marcos is reversing this trend.
Given its proximity to Taiwan, cooperation with the Philippines could be critical for the United States in the event of a conflict with China. Recently, a four-star US Air Force general warned that this could happen as early as 2025.
The EDCA expansion gives the United States access to at least nine military bases in the archipelago. Three new bases are located on the main island of Luzon – also the closest Philippine island to Taiwan – where the United States already has access to two other sites. The fourth new base would be located on the western island of Palawan, opposite the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, bringing the number of locations to two.
Free and unlimited access to Showbytes? That can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss anything from the stars.
“Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover.”