Aquino: PH-US defense pact promotes regional peace
MANILA, Philippines – Instead of enflaming disputes with China, the new defense pact between the Philippines and United States will pave the way for peace in Asia. That was the sentiment of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday after his meeting with US President Barack Obama.
“The Philippines-U.S. Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) takes our security cooperation to a higher level of engagement, reaffirms our countries’ commitment to mutual defense and security, and promotes regional peace and stability,” Aquino said during their joint press conference.
Hours after the EDCA was signed, Aquino said the two countries’ defense alliance, even before the agreement, served as a “cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region for more than 60 years.”
However, he also pointed out that he and Obama want to ensure that their countries’ relations are sensitive and attuned to the “realities and needs that have emerged in the 21st century, which affect not only our two countries, but also the entire community of nations.”
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Monday morning signed the EDCA at Camp Aguinaldo, paving the way for US access to Philippine military facilities in the next 10 years.
Obama’s state visit to the Philippines is the last leg of his Asian tour, following his stopover in Japan, South Korea and Malaysia over the past several days. It is part of the US’ campaign to rebalance its forces in the region amid China’s increasing political and military strength.
US pact will strengthen PH defense – Palace
Philippines, US sign defense pact
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