Philippines expands US access to military bases amid tensions with China. Photos/Illustrations
MANILA – Filipina give United States of America (US) expanded access to its military bases. It comes amid growing fears over power China Of South China Sea disputes and tensions over self-ruled Taiwan.
Statements from the two countries’ defense ministries said Washington would be given access to four more locations under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) from 2014.
“The United States has allocated more than USD 82 million for infrastructure investment in five existing sites under EDCA,” the statement read as quoted by Channel News Asia, Thursday (2/2/2023).
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EDCA allows US access to Philippine military bases for joint training, equipment pre-position and construction of facilities such as runways, fuel storage and military housing, but is not a permanent presence.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is in Manila for talks as Washington seeks to expand its security options in the Philippines as part of efforts to deter any Chinese action against self-ruled Taiwan.
The statement did not say where the new base would be located. The former Philippine military chief previously said the United States had requested access to bases on the northern mainland of Luzon, the Philippines’ closest part of Taiwan, and on the island of Palawan, which overlooks the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
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Austin also met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at the presidential palace this Thursday before meeting his counterpart Carlito Galvez.
His visit follows US Vice President Kamala Harris’ three-day trip to the Philippines last November which included a stop in Palawan.
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