MANILA — The newly signed defense agreement between the Philippines and the United States is widely seen as a boost for the Philippines’ military at a time of increased tensions with China.
But analysts say the extent of U.S. support remains ambiguous, making it unclear how the pact might affect future confrontations between Manila and Beijing.
The so-called “Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement” will open Philippine bases to more U.S. troop visits, pave the way for additional bi-lateral military exercises and augment the Philippines information-gathering abilities at sea.
It also allows for U.S. forces to store vessels, aircraft and military equipment at select Philippine installations for the next 10 years.
Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research head Rommel Banlaoi says the training in sea surveillance will be crucial.
“Access to information in the maritime domain can help the Philippines avoid any accident in the sea, that might escalate tension in the South China Sea,” he said.