MANILA – The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China’s increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The offer was made during a sixth round of talks held in Washington last week, Filipino officials said on Friday. The two sides hope to finalize terms before U.S. President Barack Obama embarks on a visit to Asia, including the Philippines, next month.
“Consensus was arrived at on many provisions of the draft agreement,” Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino told a news conference, adding the deal is 80 percent done.
“The proposed agreement will allow the sharing of defined areas within certain AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) facilities with elements of the U.S. military.”