The Philippines will give the United States greater access to its military bases, providing a larger strategic base for U.S. forces at the southeastern tip of the South China Sea near self-administered Taiwan, the two countries said Thursday.
The newly announced deal gives the US access to four more locations under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) through 2014, allowing the US to rotate troops to a total of nine bases across the Philippines. I can.
The United States has ramped up its efforts in recent months to expand security options in the Indo-Pacific amid growing concerns over China’s aggressive territorial posture across the region.
During a visit to Manila on Thursday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the US and the Philippines remain committed to strengthening each other’s ability to resist armed attack.
“This is just one part of our efforts to modernize the alliance.
Austin did not disclose the location of the newly accessible base for US forces.
China has warned that tensions in the region have risen in the wake of the move. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning said the Philippines’ granting the United States access to four defense posts in its territory has “increased regional tensions and endangered regional peace and stability.” Stated.
“The United States has endured the Cold War out of a selfish agenda. Regional countries should remain vigilant about this and avoid being taken advantage of by the United States,” Mao said.
Thursday’s announcement follows a series of high-profile US military deals across the region, including plans to share defense technology with India and plans to deploy new US Marines to Japanese islands.
The U.S. Marine Corps also opened a new base last week on Guam, a strategically important U.S. island east of the Philippines. Known as Camp Blaze, the site is the first new Marine Corps base in 70 years and in a single day he is expected to house 5,000 Marines.
Increased access to military bases in the Philippines could place US forces less than 200 miles (200 miles) south of Taiwan. Taiwan is her 24 million island democratically ruled, which the Chinese Communist Party claims to be part of its sovereign territory even though it has never ruled it.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has refused to rule out the use of military force to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control, but the Biden administration has agreed to provide the island under the Taiwan Relations Act, which Washington agreed to. As such, it has shown a firm stance on its support for the island. It has a means of self-defense without the use of US forces.
In November, US Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Philippines to discuss expanding access to US military bases with recently elected President Ferdinand “BonBon” Marcos Jr. , reversing the trend under former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Washington and Manila are bound by a mutual defense treaty signed in 1951 that is still in effect, making it the United States’ oldest bilateral treaty alliance in the region.
In addition to expanding EDCA, the United States is supporting the modernization of the Philippine military and includes the Philippines as a pilot country for the Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative. The two countries also recently agreed to host more than 500 of her activities together throughout the year.
Earlier this month, the Philippines announced that 16,000 Filipino and US troops will participate in the annual Balikatan exercise, which is scheduled to take place April 24-27.
The exercises will include “live-fire exercises to test newly acquired weapon systems by the United States and the Philippines,” the state-run Philippine News Agency said.
Formal relations between the United States and the Philippines date back to 1898, when Madrid ceded control of the Philippine colony to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War.
The Philippines remained a U.S. territory until Washington recognized its independence on July 4, 1946, but the U.S. military presence remained an archipelagic state.
The country was home to two of the largest US military installations abroad, Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, which supported the US war effort in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s.
After the 1947 military base agreement between Washington and Manila expired, both bases were transferred to Philippine control in the 1990s.