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War Games Continue: Philippines to Allow US to Use Eight Military Bases

© AFP 2023 / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan
Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan - Sputnik International
The Philippines will offer the US military use of eight bases, a military spokesman said Wednesday after the country's Supreme Court supported a security agreement with Washington; the deal was implemented following the onset of rising tensions with China.

The facilities include the former US Clark airbase and air and naval facilities on the southwestern island of Palawan, which faces the South China Sea. Military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla said the facilities would be used to store equipment and supplies.

US Navy amphibious assault vehicles with Philippine and US troops on board maneuver in the waters during a combined exercise in the South China Sea. - Sputnik International
US Ready to Implement Enhanced Defense Cooperation Deal With Philippines
The decision permits the full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Co-operation Agreement (EDCA), signed in 2014 but not applied due to legal challenges from groups opposed to US military involvement in the Philippines, a US colony from 1898 to 1946, according to Defense News.

It envisions more US troops being rotated through the Philippines for war games and outlines how the US will help Manila build military facilities.

“We have resumed talks now that there is a go-signal that EDCA is constitutional,” Padilla said.

“We are continuing talks and we will finalize the agreement on the locations,” he said without giving a timetable regarding when the decision would be reached, Defense News reported.

China and the Philippines have conflicting claims to the South China Sea, which is home to major shipping lanes and rich fishing waters, and is a potential source of mineral resources.

The Philippines has been looking for closer defense ties with the United States, and accuses China of aggression in the South China Sea.

However, China has constantly maintained that it does not seek to undermine the peace and stability of the region.

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