MANILA — The Philippines is drawing the red line against China's military aggression by expanding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States, an analyst said Monday.
EDCA allows US troops to rotate through 5 Philippine bases, including those near disputed waters. It also allows the US military to store defense equipment and supplies on those bases.
Manila and Washington last week announced a deal to give US troops access to another 4 bases in "strategic areas" under the EDCA.
"We are making China realize that its actions [have] cost. It will have a consequence," De La Salle University international studies professor Renato De Castro told ANC's "Headstart".
"We are not anymore backing down so we're drawing the red line, saying that we tried to appease you, it did not work. What we got is a more aggressive China."
De Castro said Manila had to return to its traditional allies, such as Washington, as appeasing Beijing was futile.
"[It's] a realization that appeasing China simply doesn't work. So, the other option we have is to turn back to the alliance," he said.
The US and the Philippines have also 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 last week.
The 2 countries had suspended maritime patrols in the hotly contested area under the rule of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
The new 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 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