A military alliance between the United States and the Philippines called the “Visiting forces (Agreement) Act,” signed in 1999, and the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which called for the U.S. to use military force to defend the Philippines from external attack, may soon end.
On 11 February, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted: “The deputy chief of mission of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement.”
The U.S. embassy in Manila called the termination of the military alliance “a serious step with significant implications.”
Business of China: Business. Business of America: War 
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made moves over the past few years in support of a foreign policy less dependent on the U.S. and more aligned with China and Russia. Since elected in 2016, Mr. Duterte has visited China five times, while requesting no visits to the U.S. He has also travelled to Russia several times seeking defense and trade arrangements.
His call for ending the U.S. military alliance comes amidst growing concerns from Washington of China’s increasing military presence in the geopolitically important South China Sea, where about one third of all global shipping passes through.
Indeed, at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper both warned that the United States and Europe were facing a bleak future if they did not band forces to contain China on all fronts: militarily, technologically, trade, and foreign relations.
Commenting on the importance of the alliance in curbing China’s geopolitical intentions, Esper said, “I do think it would be a move in the wrong direction as we both bilaterally with the Philippines and collectively with a number of other partners and allies in the region are trying to say to the Chinese, ‘You must obey the international rules of order. You must obey, you know, abide by international norms.’”
Yet President Trump sent a conflicting message the following day, stating, “I don’t really mind if they would like to do that [referring to the dissolution of the alliance], it will save a lot of money.”
Since 1999, the U.S. has spent some $1.3 billion in military aid to the Philippines.

Comments are closed.

Skip to content