China Expresses Concern after Military Bases Agreement between the US and the Philippines

February 2, 2023

Four new military bases of the American army in the Philippines will be located in "strategic" locations.
Vice-President of the United States of America Kamala Harris arrives at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay, Manila, the Philippines. Photo by Anadolu Images


n Thursday, February 2, 2023, the United States and the Philippines signed an agreement which will allow the U.S. to use four additional military bases in the country to face the rise of China, about which both Washington and Manila share concerns. The move will give the U.S. army more access and a strategic footing on the southeastern edge of the South China Sea, allowing it to overlook Taiwan.

A statement by Philippine and American officials noted that the four military bases to be used by the American army are located in “strategic” locations in the country.

The new agreement is part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed between the U.S. and the Philippines in 2014.

After signing the agreement in Manila, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters: “That’s just part of our efforts to modernize our alliance. And these efforts are especially important as the People’s Republic of China continues to advance its illegitimate claims in the West Philippine Sea.”

China responds to the Philippines move

Mao Ning, a spokeswoman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused the United States on Thursday of threatening regional peace and stability, adding that Washington still has a cold war mentality. Ning noted that this mentality is visible through the U.S. military expansion in the South China Sea.

The statement noted that some parties in the U.S. try to use Taiwan as a card to contain China.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed that Taiwan is part of China, calling on the U.S. to respect the One China Policy and to stop its military support for the island.

The U.S. currently uses five military bases in islands across the Philippines, and according to the new agreement, the U.S. will provide these islands with $83 million to boost infrastructure.

The locations of the four new military bases to be used by the U.S. forces is yet to be declared.

The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos is interested in strengthening the Philippines’ ties with the U.S. unlike that of Rodrigo Duterte, which leaned more towards China.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris paid a visit to the Philippines in November, where she asserted that her country will support the Philippines against “intimidation” in the South China Sea.

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