Despite China warning, DFA says Edca proves PH-US commitment to ‘stronger alliance’
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said the expansion of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the United States signifies a “stronger alliance” that will boost regional stability, address security challenges, and open socio-economic opportunities for Filipinos.
DFA made the statement after Malacañang announced on Monday the location of the four additional Edca sites across the country despite earlier warnings made by China about strengthening the military pact between Washington and Manila.
The announcement of the new sites, it noted, affirms the “robust commitment” of both nations “to a stronger alliance that promotes regional peace and stability, addresses new and emerging shared security challenges, and provides for greater socio-economic opportunities for many Filipinos.”
“The Edca will enhance the interoperability of our armed forces to collectively better respond to threats, including those requiring close cooperation and coordination for more rapid and effective humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” DFA argued.
It further noted that the augmented Edca sites will result in the construction and upgrading of facilities and infrastructure “that directly contribute to the enhancement of the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).”
“More than construction in support of shared goals with the US, these programs are investments by the Philippines in its own defense and security, benefitting military installations under the full ownership and operational control of the AFP,” DFA added.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila had earlier cautioned the country against opening up additional Edca sites, saying this will “seriously harm Philippine national interests and endanger regional peace and stability.”
In questioning the location of the four new Edca sites, the embassy claimed that it may just be a way for the US to drag the Philippines into its dispute with China over Taiwan.
The US is the biggest international backer of democratically ruled Taiwan, which is under threat of being reclaimed by China after breaking away from the mainland in 1949 following its takeover by Mao Zedong’s communist forces.
Beijing believes Taiwan is a Chinese province and essentially has no right to forge state-to-state ties, but Taiwan disagrees.