Philippines Allows US Access To Military Bases Amid China Fears
- The EDCA grants the U.S. temporary access to Philippine military bases for joint training, pre-positioning equipment, and developing runways, fuel storage, and military housing.
- Marcos has visited with U.S. President Joe Biden twice since his landslide election victory last year and stressed that his country cannot survive without its longtime treaty friend.
On Thursday, the Philippines’ defence leaders said that the US has expanded access to its military sites amid rising concerns over China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and Taiwan.
In a joint news conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Philippines Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez announced the 2014 EDCA will provide Washington access to four more locations.
Austin, who was in the Philippines for talks to expand Washington’s security choices to dissuade China from attacking Taiwan, called Manila’s decision a “major deal” as he and his counterpart reiterated their commitment to strengthening their alliance.
Austin’s visit follows U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ November visit to the Philippines, which included a stop in Palawan in the South China Sea.
“We addressed tangible efforts to counter destabilising activity in the waters surrounding the Philippines, notably the West Philippine Sea,” Austin added.
“That’s part of our alliance modernization. As China advances its unlawful claims in the West Philippine Sea, these initiatives are crucial “said.
The EDCA gave the US nine military bases, and Washington declared it would invest $82 million in infrastructure at the existing bases.
The EDCA grants the U.S. temporary access to Philippine military bases for joint training, pre-positioning equipment, and developing runways, fuel storage, and military housing.
Austin and Galvez did not provide new locations. The former Philippine military leader said the US has asked access to sites on northern Luzon, closest to Taiwan, and Palawan, facing the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Protesters outside the military headquarters screamed anti-U.S. chants and demanded the EDCA be repealed.
“We stand ready to aid you in any way we can,” Austin told Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the presidential palace on Thursday before meeting his colleague.
Rodrigo Duterte’s overtures to China, anti-U.S. rhetoric, and threats to decrease military ties deteriorated relations between the former colony and the US.
Marcos has visited with U.S. President Joe Biden twice since his landslide election victory last year and stressed that his country cannot survive without its longtime treaty friend.
“I have always stated, it appears to me, the future of the Philippines and for that matter the Asia Pacific would always have to incorporate the United States,” Marcos told Austin.