The Philippines has announced that it will grant the US access to four new military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). This includes a base in Cagayan province, which overlooks Taiwan. The US has reportedly requested access to bases in Isabela, Zambales, and Cagayan, all on the island of Luzon and facing north towards Taiwan, as well as in Palawan in the Southwest, close to the contentious Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Amidst the escalating tensions between the US and China regarding Taiwan, an announcement has been made that the US is increasing its military presence in the Philippines. This move has been criticized by China, which has deemed it “provocative”. In addition, certain local government officials in the Philippines have raised concerns about the expanded US military presence.
President Marcos Jr. has justified the decision by stating that it is crucial to safeguard the Philippines against external threats. Although he did not explicitly name the source of the threat, it is widely known that China’s purported intimidation of states with territorial disputes in the South China Sea has compelled the Philippines to forge a closer alliance with the US in recent times.
The US has committed to investing US$80 million in infrastructure at the five existing EDCA sites in the Philippines. The new bases will be used for joint training, equipment pre-positioning, runways, fuel storage, and military housing installation.
The US will most likely get to the new military bases in the Philippines by both air and sea. The US has a large air force and navy, and it will be able to transport troops and equipment to the Philippines quickly and efficiently.
It is unclear how China will react to the US expanding its military presence in the Philippines. China has claimed that Taiwan is part of its territory and has threatened to use force to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence. However, China is also aware of the US military’s capabilities, and it is unlikely to engage in a direct conflict with the US over Taiwan.
It is unlikely that the US would want to keep count of casualties in a conflict related to Taiwan. However, the US is bound by American law to assist Taiwan, as per the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. The Act states that the US is committed to maintaining the ability to resist any form of force or coercion that may endanger the security, social, or economic system of the people of Taiwan.
In other words, the US is obligated to help defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China. However, the US is also likely to try to avoid a direct conflict with China, and it may instead provide Taiwan with military equipment and training.
It is important to note that the situation is complex and fluid, and it is difficult to predict how events will unfold in the future. However, the US is expanding its military presence in the Philippines to deter China from using force against Taiwan.
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