US, PH thought leaders to hold forum on EDCA
Influential figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of National Defense will lead a forum on the regional impact of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) next week.
Analysts from United States, Australia and Japan will also join the forum that will be held at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Tuesday, June 7, a media advisory from the defense department said.
“The newly approved Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will be the jump-off point for discussion, to look at the progress in its implementation and how it has impacted cooperation with others in the region,” it said.
Speakers in the forum are Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario, Undersecretary for Defense Policy Pio Lorenzo Batino, Assistant Secretary for American Affairs (DFA) Maria Andrelita Austria, Convener of the National Security and East Asian Affairs Program Renato de Castro.
Insights from Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Director Gregory Poling, Center for Strategic and International Studies fellow Zachary Cooper, Australian Strategic Policy Institute Senior Analyst Lisa Sharland, and Katsuyuku Yakushiji of Tokyo University will also be given.
The forum is held amid brewing sea disputes in the South China Sea.
“The challenge, therefore, to the new leadership in Manila and in the region will be to manage tensions and channel public energies toward areas of cooperation,” the advisory said.
The dialogue will be attended by representatives from government agencies, the diplomatic corps, academic and analysts and business community.
The EDCA, a military agreement between the Philippines and United States intended to boost their alliance, was signed in 2014. Its legality was questioned, delaying its implementation, but it was upheld constitutional by the Supreme Court early this year.
The US says EDCA is strengthening its maritime role in the South China Sea, as well as in areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster response, joint training, among other things. RAM
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