US and Philippines sign defence pact
The Philippines and the United States signed on Monday a 10-year defense pact that would allow for a larger US military presence as it struggles to raise its defence capabilities amid territorial disputes with China.
President Barack Obama has arrived in the Philippines on the final leg of his Asia tour.
The deal, signed in Manila, allows a bigger US military presence in the South East Asian nation.
It comes with Manila embroiled in a bitter territorial dispute with Beijing over parts of the South China Sea.
The 10-year deal was signed by Philippine Defence Minister Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Monday morning.
Under the agreement, the US will have better access to military bases, ports and airfields. US troops would rotate through these facilities and engage in joint training, officials said.
Finalized after eight rounds of talks that began in August 2013, the new accord grants U.S. troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and pre- position equipment, aircraft and vessels, but rules out permanent basing, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Philippines hosted two of the largest overseas US military bases until 1992, when Manila voted to end their lease at a time of growing anti-US sentiment.
Obama\’s two-day trip to Manila is the final stop in his Asia tour, which also included Japan and South Korea.
This is Obama\’s fifth visit to Asia since taking office in 2009. He has promised to make the Pacific region a greater economic, diplomatic and military priority for the United States.