06 May 2014
To conclude his tour of Asia, US President Barack Obama signed an important defense agreement with the Philippines. Known formally as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), it “deepens defense cooperation” between the US and the Philippines, and “maintains and develops their individual and collective capacities”.
But given that both countries are already bounded as allies by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement, why is yet another agreement necessary, and why now?
Actually, nothing much is novel in the EDCA, except for some operational adjustments. Just like the deployment of 2,500 US Marines in Darwin, Australia, the EDCA is a way for the US to protect its interests and defend allies in the region under its “rebalancing to Asia” strategy.
… The writer, an associate research fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, is an Indonesian visiting fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
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