On Tuesday, Mark Esper, the Defense Secretary of the United States said that he felt disappointed that the government of the Philippine announces to end the military agreement that signed between Manila and Washington. However, he warned that the U.S. officials only received the notification about the Philippines’ move a moment before and desired to hear this news from the military commanders of U.S. before plotting a way ahead following the decision.
Under the 1988 Visiting Forces Agreement, the military aircraft and vessels of the United States allowed free entrance into the territory of the Philippines. According to CNN Philippines, the military soldiers of the United States subjected to relaxed passport and visa policies under the agreement. Esper told reporters that they just received the notification last night, and they must have to digest it. Also, the United States need to work through all the policy and military angles and want to hear from his commanders but finally a regrettable move.
BREAKING: The Philippines has finally sent the United States a notice to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, marking the 180-day period from when the two-decade military pact will be effectively scrapped https://t.co/44NWOOv82X
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) February 11, 2020
The Secretary of Defense recently visited the Philippines, frequently raised concern about the increasingly extensive role of China in the region of Indo-Pacific but said he didn’t unavoidably view the announcement as a win for China. Esper added, he didn’t think it certainly tied to China and tied to some other matters. They received it nine hours ago.
Philippines letter to U.S. officials
Earlier Tuesday, CNN reported that the Philippines sent a letter to the officials of the United States, terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement, according to Salvador Panelo, the spokesman of the President of the Philippines. Though it is not only the single military pact between the two nations, it perceives as an official fall of its long-standing military union between the two states in the South China Sea. China and Philippines both claim overlapping regions of the vast sea, together with several other states including Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.
In a press conference, Panelo confirmed that Rodrigo Duterte, the President directed the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to send the termination notice to the government of the U.S. Panelo stated that Trump and Duterte haven’t communicated and that no reply it needed from the United States government for the process of termination to proceed. The termination will be effective one-hundred and eight days from the receiving of the termination notice from the U.S. administration.
The Time for the U.S. to rely on its sources
Donald Trump says that it is time they rely on their own resources and need to strengthen their own ability as a nation relative to the defence of the U.S. Philippines and China relations warmed since the inauguration of Duterte in 2016, who pushed for a deep economic relationship with China. Before going to China in April 2018, Duterte said that he needs China. Over anything else at this stage, he needs China.
Duterte took the matter as compared with his ancestors in the South China Sea as more negotiable than a matter of principle. However, China is strengthening its grip over the discussed region. Beijing announced in 2018 that it effectively landed their bombers for the first time on the islands under its control, a significant move in the militarization of the area.
The American President met with Duterte during his 2017 visit to Manila, and formerly he admired the controversial Philippines leader’s violent crackdown against a drug that drawn global scorn and expected to test the desire of Trump for diplomatic obsequiousness. According to leaked transcript got by the Washington Post, Donald Trump told the President of Philippines in their first 2017 call that he just wanted to praise him because he did an incredible job against the drug problem.