The U.S. and Philippine governments have crafted a new defense cooperation agreement that paves the way for the first full-scale return of U.S. military forces to the island nation since their expulsion at the end of the Cold War, according to the White House.
A day before Obama’s planned arrival in Manila, the president’s advisers said on Sunday that the two sides had reached a 10-year deal that will allow US troops, warships and planes to jointly use bases Filipino military and training on a rotating basis. .
Officials say the enhanced defense cooperation agreement can go into effect without specific approval from the Philippine Senate, which in 1991 rejected an extension of the nations’ long-standing basic agreement and forced Washington to shut down Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, two of the Pentagon’s largest. installations abroad.
More than two decades after this ouster, the new agreement marks an improvement in American relations with the former American colony, as well as recognition of growing regional tensions with China over the resource-rich islands and shoals of the sea. from southern China.
“It shows how far we’ve come in building a very mature partnership based on mutual interests and respect,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.
The deal will be Obama’s most visible achievement during his visits to Japan, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Over the past six days, he has attended state dinners, visited cultural sites and held closed-door conversations with Asian leaders. But he will return to Washington on Tuesday without a clear breakthrough on the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement he had hoped to show for his week abroad.
Parsons reported from Kuala Lumpur and Cloud from Washington.