The United States and the Philippines agree to increase the American military presence

Date:

The United States and the Philippines agree to increase the American military presence

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, February 03, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • According to the announcement, as part of the deal, the U.S. has allotted $82 million for infrastructure upgrades at five current EDCA locations. It would increase its military presence at four new sites in “strategic parts of the country.

  • “Austin arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday from South Korea, where he announced that in response to North Korea’s escalating nuclear threat, the United States would increase the deployment of cutting-edge weapons like fighter jets and bombers to the Korean Peninsula.

  • Duterte has fostered close ties with China and Russia and has threatened to break ties with Washington, expel American personnel stationed there, and renege on a significant defense agreement.

  • Romualdez said that the Philippines should work with Washington to keep tensions between China and self-ruled Taiwan from worsening.

  • In the South China Sea, China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam, which are all members of ASEAN, as well as Taiwan, have been fighting over territory.

As part of the deal, the U.S. will spend $82 million to improve infrastructure at five current EDCA sites, according to the announcement. It would increase its military presence at four new sites in “strategic parts of the country.”

Austin arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday from South Korea, where he announced that in response to North Korea’s escalating nuclear threat, the United States would increase the deployment of cutting-edge weapons like fighter jets and bombers to the Korean Peninsula. These weapons would also strengthen joint training with South Korean forces.

Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, the regional commander of the Philippine military, said that Austin went to southern Zamboanga City in the Philippines. The Philippines is the oldest treaty ally of the United States in Asia and a key front in the war against terrorism. There, he met with Filipino generals and a small group of U.S. counterterrorism forces based at a nearby military camp. Over the years, more than 100 US soldiers have helped Filipino troops fight a Muslim insurgency that has been going on for decades but is still a severe threat.

More recently, U.S. forces have expanded and increased joint exercises with Filipino forces on the country’s western coast, which faces the South China Sea, and in its northern Luzon province, which is across the sea from the Taiwan Strait. The exercises focus on combat readiness and disaster response.

Under the 2014 EDCA defense agreement, five military bases in the Philippines could be used as temporary homes for American troops.

In October, the US asked for more access to its troops and weapons at five more military bases, most of which were in the north. According to Philippine officials, Austin’s discussions will prioritize that request.

The Philippine ambassador in Washington, Jose Romualdez, said, “The visit of Secretary Austin will surely, obviously, have something to do with many of the ongoing conversations on the EDCA sites.”

According to Romualdez, Austin was set to meet with his Philippine counterpart Carlito Galvez Jr. and National Security Advisor Eduardo Ano on Thursday. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office in June and has since attempted to improve relations with Washington, will receive a separate call from Austin.

The vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, visited the Philippines in November. People saw her trip as a sign that things were getting better between the two countries after Rodrigo Duterte, who came before Marcos, made things complicated.

Duterte has built strong relationships with China and Russia. He has also threatened to cut ties with Washington, kick out American troops stationed there, and break a significant defense agreement.

Romualdez said that the Philippines should work with Washington to keep tensions between China and self-ruled Taiwan from worsening. This is because of their treaty alliance and to help avoid a big fight.

“We’re caught in a Catch-22. Romualdez says that if China uses military force against Taiwan, it will affect us and the rest of ASEAN, especially Japan and South Korea. ASEAN is a group of Southeast Asian countries that includes the Philippines.

In the South China Sea, in addition to China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam, which are all members of ASEAN, as well as Taiwan, have been fighting over territory. The US has promised to help the Philippines if its troops, ships, or planes are attacked in the disputed waters. It is seen as a critical counterweight to China in the area.

In the Philippines, the U.S. Navy and Air Force used to have two of their biggest bases outside of the United States. Early in the 1990s, the Philippine Senate said no to a request to keep the sites open. In 1999, though, the Visiting Marines Agreement allowed American forces to return for large-scale combat drills with Filipino forces.

The Philippine Constitution says that foreign soldiers can’t live in the country permanently or join in regional wars.

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