Philippines expands US military access amid China tensions
05 February 2023 | 6:27 pm
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, first signed in 2014, allows for US troops to set up temporarily at Philippine military bases to thwart Chinese ambitions.
April 12, 2023
May 12, 2023
The joint military drills are part of the US effort to strengthen its alliances in the Indo-Pacific to counter China's aggressive actions in the region.
This year's joint "Balikatan" military exercises are the largest to date. They come as Manila seeks a stronger response to China's increased military activity and deeper strategic cooperation with the US.
For a long time, the island of Jolo, one of the southernmost points of the Philippines archipelago, was off limits. It was the stronghold of one of the most violent terrorist movements in the world, Abu Sayyaf. In 2000, a group of 20 tourists were kidnapped in Malaysia and taken to Jolo. Journalists who covered the kidnapping were then also captured. Negotiations for their release took several months.
During a meeting with Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the White House, US President Joe Biden reiterated his support for Manila's security. China has angered the Philippines by harassing its vessels at sea.
As the relationship between Washington and Manila improves, the Philippines is daring to be more robust regarding the security of its own maritime territory in the South China Sea.
Rights activists have welcomed the acquittal of former Philippine Justice Minister Leila de Lima in a drug case. She was detained months after launching an investigation into Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs."
The Philippines and Kuwait are locked in a row over the rights of migrant labor following the brutal killing of a Filipino domestic worker.
Officials have raised the alert level due to various seismic events being recorded.
Strategic ties between European countries and the Philippines are set to grow as leaders recognize the importance of countering China's rising military activity near Taiwan and the South China Sea.
The probe into thousands of killings in the "war on drugs" will continue, after the International Criminal Court rejected an appeal from the Philippines. The move was hailed by human rights groups.
The refusal comes days after the ICC said it would relaunch its probe into an anti-drug crackdown that killed thousands. Manila and the ICC are at loggerheads over the question of jurisdiction.
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