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Philippines agrees to let US forces have access to its military bases under new security deal

Published on Mar 14, 2014 5:00 PM
 
Philippine Defence Undersecretary Pio Batino (centre) speaks during a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo in suburban Manila, on March 14, 2014. The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China's increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China's increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The offer was made during a sixth round of talks held in Washington last week, Filipino officials said on Friday. The two sides hope to finalise terms before US President Barack Obama embarks on a visit to Asia, including the Philippines, next month.

"Consensus was arrived at on many provisions of the draft agreement," Defence Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino told a news conference, adding the deal is 80 per cent done. "The proposed agreement will allow the sharing of defined areas within certain AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) facilities with elements of the U.S. military."

The US plans to "rebalance" its forces in Asia-Pacific region, and has similar arrangements with Australia and Singapore, as part of its strategy to counter China.

 
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