US signs 10-year defence deal with Philippines

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Philippines has inked a ten-year defence pact with US sending a clear signal to China that it can not be stared down by its expansionist policy in the South China Sea. The deal is seen in a wider framework of US policy of containment of China by siding with its neighbours who feels threatened by the rising and assertive territorial ambition of the emerging superpower.

The Agreement

  • Deal approves stationing of US army hardware in the country while simultaneously prohibiting US from building any permanent base there.
  • It also warrants intense and frequent military exercise between the two friends.
  • US did not want to upset China too much with the agreemnt so the clause enabling it to bring nuclear weapons to the country has been done away with.

Moreover

  • China is locked in maritime dispute with its neighbors namely Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
  • Philippines is expecting a showdown with Beijing over disputed atolls in the South China Sea.
  • This naturally present wary US with opportunity to play on rising security concerns of these relatively weaker nations.
  • Washington is now attempting to rewrite its strategic commitments in this Asia-Pacific region while keeping its economic interest (largely tied to China) intact.
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