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PH, US to sign new military pact

English.news.cn   2014-04-27 16:41:43

MANILA, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines and the United States are set to sign on Monday a ten-year defense pact that would allow an enlarged rotational presence of U.S. forces in the country, senior Philippine government officials disclosed on Sunday.

Finalized after eight rounds of talks that began in August 2013, the new accord grants U.S. troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and pre- position equipment, aircraft and vessels, but rules out permanent basing, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The signing of the accord, called Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDCA), will be made a few hours before U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival in Manila, said the sources, who refused to be identified as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

With an initial term of 10 years, the EDCA will be signed as an executive agreement, meaning it will not require congressional ratification because it is not a treaty, sources explained.

There is no definite number on the entry of visiting troops, they added.

Earlier this month, after the eighth round of negotiations for the agreement, Philippine Defense Undersecretary and Chairman of the Philippine Negotiating Panel Pio Lorenzo Batino said the two sides found consensus on key points of the agreement.

According to Batino, the agreement states that U.S. access to and use of Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) facilities and areas will be "at the invitation of the Philippines and with full respect for Philippine Constitution and Philippine laws."

The pact will also indicate that the United States will not establish a permanent military presence or base in the Philippines. Besides that, the United States has also agreed that any equipment and material that its military will bring into the country will not include nuclear weapons, Batino said.

For decades, the U.S. maintained large military bases in northern Philippine areas of Clark and Subic Bay until Philippine congress voted to close them down in 1991.

American forces returned to the country eight years later under the Visiting Forces Agreement, which was ratified by the Senate in 1999 to govern the temporary stay of U.S. forces for joint trainings with the Philippine military.

Editor: chengyang
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