US seals military deal with the Philippines to get wider access to military bases
The United States and the Philippines signed a military deal that granted the US expanded access to military bases in the Philippines, according to a joint statement from the defence departments of both nations.
The Philippines’ Department of National Defence said on Thursday in a statement that the US would be granted access to four more military bases in the Southeast Asian nation. However, it did not reveal the exact location of the military bases.
Under the deal, the US troops can access Philippine bases for joint training, storing equipment and building facilities. The US already has access to five Philippine military bases. Reportedly, the Philippines Department of National Defense said that the US would allocate more than $82 million for infrastructure investments at the five previous military bases in the Philippines.
According to the US Department of Defense, the military deal between the two countries was signed under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Under EDCA, the two nations form a long security alliance. It allows US troops to rotate through Philippine military bases. The agreement aims to bolster the American–Philippine alliance. However, the US is not allowed to establish any permanent military bases in the Southeast Asian country.
According to various sources and media reports, the US asked for access to military bases in Luzon, the closest part of the Philippines to Taiwan. According to analysts, the US would be able to monitor Chinese activity in the South China Sea and near Taiwan. They said that the expansion would fill a crucial gap in US positioning in the region.
In 2021, tension grew between China and the Philippines over the South China sea. The Philippines protested against China’s presence and activities near its islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have claims to parts of the sea.