The United States and the Philippines announced an agreement Thursday that will give the U.S. military access to four new Philippine military sites.
In a joint statement, the two countries did not give specific locations, saying they were in “strategic areas of the country.”
The expansion is part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which includes five existing sites.
“The addition of these new EDCA locations will allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges,” the statement said.
The new agreement comes as the two longtime allies seek to counter China’s increasing assertiveness toward Taiwan and its actions in the South China Sea.
Ahead of the announcement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the U.S. goal is to strengthen the relationship with the Philippines “in every way possible,” and to boost the Philippines’ military capabilities.
Marcos said the future of the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region “will always have to involve the United States simply because those partnership are so strong.”
VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.