The United States and the Philippines announced that US forces will have access to four new bases on the islands, bolstering months-long US efforts to expand its strategic presence in the Pacific to counter threats from China.
The new access agreement, negotiated during Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to the Philippines, will expand the list of five bases used for training and pre-deployment of equipment under a cooperation agreement in defense of 2014.
The U.S. military may also use runways and other base facilities.
The announcement does not specify which new bases it is.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., when he greeted Austin ahead of the meeting at Malacañang Palace, did not mention China directly.
However, he spoke of “a terribly difficult situation through which we will only be able to get through it properly with the help of our partners and allies”.
“I have always said that I think the future of the Philippines will always be with the United States,” he added.
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