• Defense pact not meant to provoke China – Palace

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    The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement set to be inked between the Philippines and the United States (US) does not seek to provoke China over the lingering dispute on overlapping claims in West Philippine Sea islands, the Palace said on Saturday.

    Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the pronouncement a day after the negotiating panels of the Philippines and the US approved a draft of the pact after eight rounds of talks.

    The agreement will increase the rotational presence of American troops in the country and will grant US troops access to Philippine military bases.

    “It is clear to everyone that the Philippines has always taken a position of non-provocation and we’ve always subscribed to having a peaceful resolution to this dispute. You can see this in our actions in the past where we have been deliberately avoiding situations that can increase the tension in the West Philippine Sea,” Valte said in an interview with Radyo ng Bayan.

    The Philippines has already filed a memorial against China before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas to settle the maritime row between the two countries but China refused to participate in the process.

    The defense pact between Manila and Washington may be signed when US President Barack Obama visits the Philippines on April 28 to 29.

    The date of the signing of the enhanced defense pact between the Philippines and the United States, however, is yet to be determined. Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino said the agreement’s draft provisions and key points are still under consultation.

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    1. I do not think that you can hide the general elation of the majority of Filipinos who are tired of hearing and knowing from their government that they do not have the means to defend their territories against the aggressiveness of the Chinese guarding the territories with in their 9-line, which the Philippines perceived, as illegal based on UNCLOS rule of the sea. Now that you have a singed defense agreement with the United States, it changes the Chinese SUN TZU STRATEGY. I hope it will not happen, but it is inevitable, the scenario calls for an arms race. While you are under the umbrella, this does not mean you will just relax and do nothing. You have to get busy, improve your defense system, if you want to have peace, with the aggressive neighbors you have around.