MANILA, Philippines – United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III on Thursday, February 2, wrapped up a visit to the Philippines, which marked a new phase in the long-time partners’ defense alliance.
Austin’s trip, his second to the Philippines and the first under a new Marcos administration, kept up a drumbeat of high-level engagement between Manila and Washington as both countries seek to shore up ties as part of an effort to respond to challenges in the region, including from China.
Part of this was an announcement by Philippine and American officials that the US would be allowed expanded access to key sites in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, a military deal that paves the way for greater rotational access of American troops and the prepositioning of defense assets in Philippine bases.
What does this mean for the decades-old alliance and the region? Can the Philippine-US relationship evolve to respond to growing threats in Southeast Asia and beyond?
Rappler’s foreign affairs and defense reporter Sofia Tomacruz discusses the implications of Austin’s visit with Greg Poling, a senior fellow for Southeast Asia and director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Watch the interview here on Rappler at 11 am, Friday, February 3. – Rappler.com