Thursday July 18, 2024

Philippines to announce new bases US soldiers can use

March 21, 2023

FLORIDABLANCA, Philippines: The Philippines and the United States will soon announce the location of four additional military bases in the Southeast Asian country that American soldiers will be allowed to use, officials said on Monday.

The longtime treaty allies agreed last month to expand cooperation in “strategic areas” of the country as they seek to counter China´s growing assertiveness over Taiwan and its building of bases in the South China Sea.

The 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, known as EDCA, gave US forces access to five bases in the Philippines. It has been expanded to nine, but the locations of the four additional bases have not been revealed as the government consults with local officials. It has been widely reported that two of the sites will be in the northern province of Cagayan, less than 400 kilometres (250 miles) from self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba has publicly opposed having EDCA sites in his province for fear of jeopardising Chinese investment and becoming a target in a conflict over Taiwan. But Philippine acting defence chief Carlito Galvez told reporters on Monday the government had “already decided” on the sites and that Mamba had agreed to “abide with the decision”. “The two countries will announce as soon as they can (the locations),” said US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall at a joint press conference with Galvez and other officials.