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2月12日のまにら新聞から

Terminating VFA 'has significant implication for the US and Philippines alliance'

[ 360 words|2020.2.12|英字 (English) ]

The United States Embassy in Manila said the Philippines' intent to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) "has significant implication for the US and Philippines alliance."

"The Department of Foreign Affairs informed us of the Philippines’ intent to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)," the US Embassy said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

"This is a serious step with significant implications for the U.S.-Philippines alliance. We will carefully consider how best to move forward to advance our shared interests," it stated.

"Our two countries enjoy a warm relationship, deeply rooted in history. We remain committed to the friendship between our two peoples," the embassy added.

In his tweet, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said "the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement."

In an earlier briefing by telephone before the Philippines sent its notice of termination, a US State Department official said ending the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States would put around 300 bilateral engagement and exercises in jeopardy.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper emphasized the significance of the annual military-to-military engagements and exercises to “take place unimpeded.”

“There is a significant amount of resources that had been invested in that bilateral relationship, and putting at risk?I don’t think anyone in the government of the Philippines would want to put at risk the numerous engagements,” Cooper said.

“Without VFA, it puts a risk things like these engagements, like these exercises. And the Visiting Forces Agreement provides framework that engenders us to do those activities. Absent that agreement, we do put at risk those activities that different services in the Philippines very much value,” he added.

Cooper said the US and Philippines were scheduled to hold a bilateral strategic dialogue in March, during which commitments between the two countries, including the VFA, would be discussed by officials.

“Because of outstanding shared interests when it comes to freedom of navigation, freedom of movement, joint security interests, future procurements?this is part of the broader dialogue as to why there remains value in the VFA,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS