An agreement on US-Philippine defense cooperation, expected to be signed this month during a visit by President Barack Obama, will be a clear sign of a US “rebalance” to Asia despite US preoccupations elsewhere, Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario said.
The deal will enable the sharing of Philippine bases, an increase in the rotation through the Philippines of US ships, aircraft and troops, and will reassure US allies of support against a rising China.
“There is full resolve on the part of the US to fulfill their commitments on this Asia rebalancing, not only in terms of defensive security but also in terms of enhancing economic cooperation,” Del Rosario told Reuters in an interview late Monday.
“This enhanced defense cooperation is a clear manifestation of that,” he said, days before the eighth and final round of talks on the pact between the old allies.
“The situation in the Middle East, the situation in Ukraine – this has been of some distraction in terms of their focus on doing this. But I believe that the resolve is very strong in terms of fulfilling their rebalance to Asia.”