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Philippines to give US forces access to up to 5 military bases

Published on May 2, 2014 4:59 PM

MANILA (REUTERS) - Up to five Philippine military bases will be made available for US forces to rotate aircraft, ships, equipment and troops, Manila's chief negotiator of a new security pact said on Friday, as the Philippines looks to counter China's rising power in the region.

A new 10-year military agreement - the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) - also covers storage of equipment for maritime security and humanitarian assistance. It was signed with the United States last week, hours before President Barack Obama arrived for a two-day visit to Manila.

"Right now, the discussions would be ranging from three to five Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) bases," Mr Pio Lorenzo Batino, a defence undersecretary and head of the negotiating panel, told a news conference. "That's not final."

He said the army's jungle training base in Fort Magsaysay, north of Manila, was "ideal location" for the United States because the two oldest allies in the region regularly hold joint exercises there.

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