AFP: The United States and the Philippines announced a deal yesterday to give US troops access to another four bases in the Southeast Asian nation, as the longtime allies seek to counter China’s military rise.
The agreement to expand cooperation in “strategic areas of the country” was made during a visit by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
It comes as the countries seek to repair ties that were fractured in recent years. Previous Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte favoured China over his country’s former colonial master, but the new administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been keen to reverse that. Beijing’s growing assertiveness on Taiwan and its building of bases in the disputed South China Sea have given fresh impetus to Washington and Manila to strengthen their partnership.