After an absence of more than 20 years, American forces will return to the Philippines under a 10-year agreement reached between the two countries on Monday in conjunction with U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Manila. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement seeks to broaden U.S. access to bases on a rotational, temporary basis, and allow the Pentagon to move fighter jets and ships in the area, making the U.S. a more present and capable partner in the region. The agreement also calls for increased joint exercises ranging from disaster response, transnational crime, and maritime security. Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. has promised “not establish a permanent military presence or base in the Philippines,” in compliance with Manila’s constitution.
The agreement constitutes a marked departure from two decades ago, when anti-American sentiment led the Philippine Senate to close down U.S. bases at Subic and Clark in 1991. Despite the closure, American troops continue to trickle in on a temporary basis, particularly following the 1999 seizure by China of a contested reef. Hundreds of U.S. forces were also allowed to hold counter-terrorism exercises with Filipino troops fighting militant Muslims in the southern Philippines, following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
Read more: http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2014/05/02/manila-welcomes-u-s-muscle-to-counter-beijing/