MANILA — Allowing US troops access to another 4 bases in the Philippines is an "inflection point" in the alliance of both countries amid Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, an analyst said Monday.
According to Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, the deal is not going to "fundamentally alter" the US-China relationship.
"What it is going to do is significantly deepen the US-Philippine alliance and that's the most important thing," he told ANC's "Rundown".
"We're going to get new defense guidelines. We're going to have new military information agreement. We had a $100 million in military financing pledge.
"This is really an inflection point for the US-Philippine alliance," he added.
Poling noted there could be a "small risk" for Manila due to the renewed and strengthened alliance with Washington.
"There is a small risk that by deepening the alliance with Americans, the Philippines could be dragged in to other regional crisis," he said. "But that's what alliance is all about. Alliances are about burden-sharing and sharing risk. The US takes upon itself risk on behalf of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea."
"The cost-benefit analysis for the Philippines is: [Is] the small hypothetical risk of involvement to some other conflict worth deterrence in the West Philippine Sea? And so far, the answer seems to be yes," he added.
The United States and the Philippines have agreed to restart joint patrols in the South China Sea as the longtime allies seek to counter China's military rise, a US Defense Department statement said.
The 2 countries had suspended maritime patrols in the hotly contested area under the rule of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
During a visit to Manila by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, he and Philippine counterpart Carlito Galvez "agreed to restart joint maritime patrols in the South China Sea to help address (security) challenges," the statement said Thursday.
The officials also announced a deal to give US troops access to another 4 bases in "strategic areas" in the Southeast Asian nation.
The agreements come as the allies seek to repair ties that were fractured under Duterte, who favored China over his country's former colonial master.
The new administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been keen to reverse that.
Beijing's growing assertiveness on Taiwan and its building of bases in the disputed South China Sea have given fresh impetus to Washington and Manila to strengthen their partnership.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse