Philippines expands US access to military bases

  • The United States and the Philippines agreed to a deal on 2 Feb that will give US troops access to four more military bases in the South-east Asian nation.
  • A statement from the Philippine defence ministry said Washington would be given access to the additional bases under an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) dating back to 2014.
  • The agreement to expand cooperation was announced during a visit by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
  • China’s growing assertiveness on Taiwan and its claims over the disputed South China Sea have also given fresh impetus to Washington and Manila to strengthen their partnership.
  • Under the EDCA expansion, the United States will have access to at least nine military bases across the archipelago.
  • It has been widely reported that most of the new bases will be on the main island of Luzon, the closest Philippine landmass to Taiwan, where the US already has access to two sites.

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