US, PH to expand maritime security cooperation apart from joint patrols
WASHINGTON D.C., United States — The Philippines and the United States will expand cooperation on maritime security that will not just be limited to joint patrols.
According to a fact sheet released by the US Department of Defense on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time), the goal is to expand cooperation on maritime security and maritime domain awareness for the deepening of interoperability.
This, it said, involves the continued conduct of combined maritime activities,”including but not limited to joint patrols.”
In February, the Philippines and the United States agreed to restart joint maritime patrols in the South China Sea.
The following month, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said it is in the process of crafting guidelines for the conduct of joint maritime activities in the West Philippine Sea, including joint patrols.
The fact sheet from the US Department of Defense likewise indicated that cooperation under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) should also be fortified to strengthen interoperability, including through infrastructure improvements; enhanced joint use of facilities; advancement of additional maritime security, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities; and rotational US access to Agreed Locations.
It said that the US and the Philippines likewise emphasized the need to reaffirm commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty to address both current and emerging threats.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier said the decades-old treaty should evolve amid the developing security situation in the region.