U.S. to sign military deal with Philippines but won't reopen base
MANILA — With President Obama scheduled to arrive in the Philippines on Monday, the administration announced on Sunday that the United States will sign a defense agreement with the island nation that will give American troops, ships and aircraft more access to the Philippines than they've had since the last U.S. military base closed here in 1992.
The accord, which will be signed by U.S. Ambassador Phil Goldberg before Obama's plane lands, “is the most significant defense agreement that we have concluded with the Philippines in decades,” said Evan Medeiros, the administration's senior director for Asian affairs.
It had been unclear whether U.S. and Philippines negotiators, who've been working on the accord for eight months, would agree before Obama's visit, the first by an American president since 2003. Signing it will symbolize American support for the Philippines as it confronts China over competing claims to vast stretches of the South China Sea. It will give Obama something solid to crow about as he returns to Washington on Tuesday night.
In an interview with a Philippines media outlet, ABS-CBN News, Obama said the agreement helps reaffirm the “incredible ties” between the American and the Filipino people. But he was careful to note it will not mean new U.S. bases in the Philippines, which would rile up nationalists and anti-war demonstrators, some of whom have protested Obama's visit.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Iraqi jet misfire kills 12 in Baghdad
- EU awaits Greek plan for bailout
- Half a million faithful attend pope’s Ecuadoran Mass
- Militants launch deadly attacks against Muslims, Christians in Nigeria
- Egypt proposes anti-terrorism measures in response to attacks by Islamist militants
- Sanctions, embargo among sticking points in nuclear deal with Iran
- Iraqi fighter jet drops bomb over Baghdad, kills 12 people
- Bombs at mosque, restaurant in central Nigerian city kill 44
- Fans cheer as Princess Charlotte christened on British royal estate in Sandringham
- Gene therapy for cystic fibrosis promising, study shows
- Greece’s EU role hangs in limbo as voters reject bailout in referendum