At the invitation of the Philippines, American service members will rotate through Filipino facilities.
President Barack Obama and Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III have hailed the signing of a landmark defense accord in Manila.
The signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA, took place immediately before President Obama’s arrival in Manila on April 28, on the final leg of his four-country Asia tour. The tour, which highlighted U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, also included stops in Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.
The agreement, valid for ten years, is a legal and policy framework that facilitates enhanced security cooperation between the United States and the Philippines.
At a press briefing in Manila, President Obama called the defense agreement the start of “an important new chapter in the relationship between our countries:”
“The United States is not trying to reclaim old bases or build new bases.”
At the invitation of the Philippines, American service members will rotate through Filipino facilities,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ll train and exercise more together so that we’re prepared for a range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and natural disasters like [typhoon] Yolanda.”
President Obama said that the two nations “will work together to build the Philippines’ defense capabilities and to work with other nations to promote regional stability, such as in the South China Sea.”
In response to a question about China and regional territorial disputes, Mr. Obama emphasized that the goal of the United States is “is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China;” it is to “make sure that international rules and norms are respected.”
He referred to the new defense agreement with the Philippines as “an update” to the decades-old alliance the U.S. has maintained with Manila, an update that offers the opportunity for the two countries to work closely together in order to meet new challenges and to work productively with other ASEAN countries, as well as with Australia and Japan.
“My hope is,” said President Obama, “that at some point we will be able to work cooperatively with China as well, because our goal…is simply to make sure that everybody is operating in a peaceful, responsible fashion. When that happens, that allows countries to focus on what’s most important to people day to day, and that is prosperity, growth, jobs…And if we have security arrangements that avoid conflict and dispute, then we’re able to place our attention on where we should be focused.”
Anncr: That was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.