U.S. to expand military presence in the Philippines
United States troops will get access to four Filipino military bases in addition to the five where it already is allowed, officials from the two countries said Thursday. China said the move has escalated tension in the region. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in the capital city of Manila on Wednesday. He has led efforts to strengthen America’s security alliances in Asia in response to China’s recent activity in the South China Sea and near Taiwan.
Is this agreement part of a larger strategy? The United States and the Philippines signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Act in 2014, which granted American forces access to five military sites in the country. The U.S. has allocated $82 million to improve infrastructure at the original five locations. While none of the nine sites will become permanent U.S. bases, they will facilitate rapid responses to humanitarian, disaster relief, and military events, officials said.
Dig deeper: Read William Inboden’s column in WORLD Opinions about how America should respond to Japan’s increased defense spending.
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