The move to keep the US-Philippines defense agreement

By page Bloomberg, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Washington on September 10. Here, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen ties after Duterte agreed in July to maintain the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.

Observers say that once the VFA is maintained, the US military presence in the Philippines will be secured and the Pentagon can focus more on new forms of cooperation, such as logistics. military needs and expanded use of Philippine military bases.

According to the Philippine government statement on September 11, “the two sides agreed to work on a bilateral maritime framework to promote cooperation in the maritime sector, and to resume projects in the locations that have already been established.” approved based on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)”.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a defense treaty signed by the two countries in 2014, allows the United States to increase its presence in Philippine military bases and build new facilities there.

The move to keep the defense agreement of the US - Philippines - Photo 1.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in Washington on September 10. Photo: CNN

In addition to promoting security ties and defense cooperation between the two countries, the US and Philippine defense ministers discussed developments in the East Sea.

The two ministers pledged to actively contribute to peace, security, stability and prosperity of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific. They reaffirmed building a more capable coalition based on shared interests and values.

Secretary Austin called the Philippines an “important treaty ally” of the US and vowed to continue discussing priority areas, including modernization of the Philippine Armed Forces, interoperability, sharing. information and investment.

For his part, Secretary Lorenzana noted that the Philippines-US relationship should develop according to new geopolitical realities. He suggested reviewing defense treaties to ensure the two countries better respond to threats at sea.

Earlier, on September 8, speaking at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the Philippine Defense Minister called for upgrading and updating the alliance relationship, making clearly the level of commitment of the United States.

Speaking at an online event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (ISIS, USA), Mr. Lorenzana emphasized: “Some of the questions raised in Manila are do we still need MDT? Should we amend it? What is clear is that we need a comprehensive assessment of our alliance.”

Lorenzana complained that the US lacked enthusiasm in providing modern weapons to the Philippines. “The non-treaty allies have received billions of dollars in military aid and advanced weapons systems from the United States. Perhaps, a long-standing ally like the Philippines is facing adversaries,” Lorenzana said. big in Asia, it deserves it, if not more.”

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